1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
Dismiss Notice
Wynncraft, the Minecraft MMORPG. Play it now on your Minecraft client at (IP): play.wynncraft.com. No mods required! Click here for more info...

Lore/Story Heroes And Vagabonds - Discontinued

Discussion in 'Your Work' started by WithTheFish, Jul 21, 2018.

  1. WithTheFish

    WithTheFish voted most likely to make a deal with demons Staff Member Moderator HERO

    Messages:
    3,636
    Likes Received:
    7,153
    Trophy Points:
    217
    Minecraft:
    If said title isn't obvious, this is a fan-made story set in wynncraft. It follows several of the game's quests, along with some custom adventures. Long ago in the your work section there used to be tons of these fan-made lores and stories, until one day people stopped writing them. Maybe those days will return someday? No matter what happens, I'll have fun writing this.

    Now this story works a bit differently than other ones you may have read on here. It's inspired by those "Choose Your Own Adventure" books, where you were the main character (second person perspective) and you had to sometimes choose what your character does.

    But honestly, this probably has more in common with one of those video games where all the choices you make matter in the end. This is because there are a few differences between this an a "Choose Your Own Adventure" book. For one, you aren't the main character, the story instead revolves around three different characters and their choices (first-person perspective). Their stories are separate, at least for now.

    ----

    HOW TO READ THIS

    This book (which isn't a physical book) is split up into pages. Each page is kept in a forum spoiler (No, each page will not be its own post). You start at page one, and at the end of page one you are given a choice and told to go to a different page, depending on what you chose. So if you chose the option that takes you to "Page 3", you would open up the spoiler for page 3, and so on and so on.

    Some of the choices will be links. Those will take you to another one of my posts on this thread, which will have the page you need to read next.

    ----

    Additional Notes:

    - Like most lore threads on the forums, I don't have the entire story written already. Every few weeks I'll post a couple more pages, and I hopefully will finish this story in the far far future.

    - Don't be intimidated by the amount of words, a full story will only use a small portion of all pages.

    - I will constantly be changing things around in the story until I'm satisfied with it. I won't make any gigantic changes, such as getting rid of a major character, but I will be certainly changing some small stuff. This is because my plans for the story are constantly changing, not to mention that Wynncraft is also still updating!

    - Naturally, I'm looking to get some suggestions and improvements. Since this is a bit different from other lores/stories posted here I'd really like to know what you think of its unique structure! If you have any ideas for the story itself let me know!


    Enjoy!


    -
    Ah, welcome.

    I’m pleased to join you fine people in this seaside establishment, and I hope you will feel the same way about me once I’m finished tonight. You see, I’m a lot different from the average storyteller. Those boring legends of Bob and Ragnar; who wants to hear about reality when it’s so dreary? I have a unique tale of my own.

    I’ve been reading up on recent events over the past few years. There have been many interesting scenarios; like the Wynn-Excavation incident for instance, that aren’t attributed to any known man or woman. What was the story of that one heroic adventurer? That is the tale that I aim to tell tonight. Or should I say, the one that you will tell tonight.

    This may prove to be a folly, but I’m letting you, the audience, decide this protagonist’s fate. Will they embark on a journey in the name of righteousness? Will you get them killed an hour after the best part of their life begins?


    - - -
    Go to [Page 2] (Open the spoiler that says “Page 2”)
    - - -
    -
    Let’s start by deciding the main protagonist's background. I have four interesting characters planned out, and I’ll give you a few minutes to agree on which one will tell the story.


    Rilue:
    (Based on the Mage/Dark Wizard Class)

    At a young age Rilue ended up as one of Wynn’s many orphans, her parents killed during an undead raid on Almuj. She was sent by authorities to be cared for by her only known relative: a mysterious sorceress named Lodrona. For a few years she took care of you, but slowly she spent more and more time away from home, until one day she left for good. One of Wynn’s traveling knights later told you the truth: Lodrona dealt in the dark arts and has become a wanted criminal. In recent years, Rilue has been forced to fend for herself in the alleyways of Almuj, but how much longer will her luck last with limited skill in magic?


    Harrison:
    (Based on the Warrior/Knight Class)

    Harrison came from Fruma; one of many recruits sent to help fight the corruption. Soon after arriving, he became obsessed with the legends of great heroes such as Bob, and believed he could become one himself. Unfortunately, Harrison possessed average fighting abilities, and was founded to be reckless, arrogant, and unable to obey orders. In the end he was discharged from Ragni’s army, and now he wanders the world, hoping he will one day become a legend for the history books.


    Olivia:
    (Based on the Assassin/Ninja Class)

    As of right now Olivia lives her life as a killer for hire, but that wasn’t always the case. The daughter of one of Wynn’s most prominent and wealthy families, she had many different paths that she could have taken. Instead, she went down a path of crime, slowly alienating herself from her family. Eventually she was recruited into a local gang of outlaws, and it was there where she discovered her skills as an assassin. Olivia currently wanders the province of Wynn alone however, offering her vile services to whoever needs them. It’s a risky life, and she’ll certainly make a lot of enemies if she hasn’t already.


    Esdel:
    (Based on the Archer/Hunter Class)

    For his entire life Esdel has lived in Nivla Village, a tight-knit yet prosperous community. Despite being a relatively unknown place, it is still his home, and he wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. Nivla Village is a town that has been visited by many heroes, and Esdel is considered something of a local hero himself due to his skills in hunting and defending the village. Life there is perfect, but how long can prosperity last?



    So, who will it be?


    - - -
    Choose Rilue, and go to [Page 3]
    - - -
    Choose Harrison, and go to [Page 6]
    - - -
    Choose Olivia, and go to [Page 9]
    - - -
    Choose Esdel, and go to [Page 12]
    - - -
    -
    Ah, Rilue, a tragic story if I've ever told one. The desert is a very harsh, especially for a so-called mage who can only cast a handful of spells. Our story begins in the town of Almuj, the type of rotten place where the rich are oblivious to slums right outside their doors.

    -------------------------------------------------

    My money is gone. For months I had been using this one alleyway to stockpile emeralds gotten from odd jobs. I would stash them behind loose bricks, and I was convinced that no one could find them. But now I have nothing.

    I begin to panic. This money is needed for me to get food. Although the budget store has provided myself and others with something to eat, it isn’t always enough. Here in Almuj, the supposed “jewel of the desert”, you need money to survive. And unless I sell my acacia staff that's used to cast spells, I don’t see myself getting any soon, unless…

    Almuj is known for numerous things. Its army, its oversized bank, its market, and most importantly, its thieves. A plan begins to form in my mind. If someone stole from me, why shouldn’t I steal something back? At this time of day, the local grand market is bustling with people. I could easily steal something, and sell it a day later to someone who doesn’t know I’m a thief.

    As I walk down the streets my plan becomes more consolidated. One of the few spells I know is “teleportation”, which will let me warp away from guards in the blink of an eye. Everything seems almost foolproof now; I grab something valuable, and then get out and hide.

    By the time I near the market my heart is racing, although it is also filled with doubt. Is a thief really who I am?

    - - -
    If you choose to visit the market and steal, go to [Page 4]
    - - -
    If you choose to remain where you are, and not steal anything, go to [Page 5]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 3)
    Rilue

    The market is absolutely packed today; with merchants I had never seen before shouting out their greats deals on exotic weaponry. I’ve lived in Almuj for nineteen years, and the market never ceases to amaze me. But as I stroll around, I know this trip will be different.

    One of the first merchants I see has an assortment of jewelry on display. Perfect. All I need to do is distract her and then teleport away with a necklace. But as I glance around at the numerous guards stationed at this part of Almuj, I begin to feel like jewelry theft is setting my sights too high. After all, many vendors are offering food. I could easily steal a loaf of bread or some fruit and have something to eat for the day.

    “Trying to decide what to spend your money on?”

    A guard with rusting armor strolls over to me. I’ve seen him around before; he’s an aged soldier who always seemed friendly.

    “I’ve almost made up my mind,” I answer as he strolls away.

    - - -
    If you choose to steal a necklace from a necklace merchant, go to [Page 7]
    - - -
    If you choose to steal food, go to [Page 8]
    - - -
    -
    (From Pages 3 and 7)
    Rilue


    When I was younger, Lodrona tried to raise me on the idea that the world is against you and that it’s the survival of the fittest. Well she’s long gone now, apparently wanted around Wynn or who knows what. “Dealing in the dark arts” they told me. If someone can be wanted for doing a certain type of magic, then I’ll easily be locked up for petty crimes. I decide to pass on the idea of stealing something.

    The slums of Almuj are filled with activity when I return to them. A crowd of people have gathered around a weary looking villager, who appears to be telling them something. Another storyteller, perhaps?

    “What’s going on?” I ask the human nearest me.

    “This man named Ormrod came to Almuj not long ago,” she answers, “He’s telling us about this tomb he encountered and how he got cursed. I have to say, he has one hell of an imagination!”

    “Oh its skin!” I hear Ormrod shout in a Gavellian accent, “It was pale and rotting, you could see the bone underneath! His head was wrapped in bandages, with only ghastly eye sockets showing! The mummy turned to me, its hand pointing the darkness to my location. I had no choice but to turn and run, there was no chance that I could fight such an abomination! But my ordeal did not end there.”

    When you spend enough time in the slums, you hear all sorts of tales about ancient tombs and mummies. However, none of the storytellers ever spoke as dramatically as this one.

    “When I got out of the tomb I was faced with a group of bandits! They claimed to be running a toll on the abandoned tomb, but to what end? Either way, I was forced to give up all my valuables for passage. Next, on my way back to Almuj, I was attacked by viscous scorpions and a howling wraith. By the time I reached the city the sun had already rose. I desired nothing more than to sleep at that very moment.” But I knew I had to report the instance of a cursed mummy to the Almuj army. After all, it is their job to deal with these issues, no?”

    “The army laughed at me. They thought that I should go away and return to the slums where I belong. Here I was, in a city that I don’t live in, being laughed at the guards for my misfortune. At this point I knew that I was cursed. I can’t comprehend any other explanation. Thank you for listening to me when the guards didn’t.”

    A few people clap. Others start talking amongst themselves. I’m not sure what to believe about Ormrod’s story. Maybe curses were real after all? A curse could certainly be the explanation for everything that had gone wrong in my life.

    “There’s only one way my curse can be broken. I must vanquish this vile creature, and I need your help in doing so.”

    “Oh shut up!” berates a frustrated observer. “You’ll send us to our deaths, and that’s assuming that the mummy is real! For all we know you’re a thief, trapping us in an old tomb to steal the bare minimum we have!”

    “Listen to me! If we don’t defeat this mummy now, who knows who else it will curse! The desert could very well be facing one of the biggest threats it has in decades. Give me a sword or spear, and I will lead you in a crusade to slay this monstrosity. When all is done, I’ll give my companions a generous sum from the banks of Detlas.”

    The residents talk amongst themselves. I, along with several others, would definitely appreciate having money in our pockets. But fighting a monster to do so?

    “I will join you!”

    The commanding voice belongs to Avery, one of the most skilled fighters I know. From what I’ve heard, she used to fight in Almuj’s military. She walks towards where Ormrod is standing and hands him a spear.

    “Excellent!” Ormrod says. “Welcome to the group…”

    “It’s Avery.”

    “Welcome to the group, Avery! Now, any other offers? Together, we will save the desert.”

    There are no offers. It probably isn’t because no one wants to save the desert, but because no one wants to trek across it to either die or be robbed.

    “Rilue!” Avery shouts. “Over here!”

    I’m surprised. Sure, Avery and I have spoken a few times, but everyone in the slums has. What would she want to speak to me about?

    I find the answer when I walk over to her. “We need someone with the power of magic. Healing magic.”

    “Me? I can’t do anything with this staff, except…” It dawns on me. I can’t summon a storm of fire or ice, but I'm good at mending wounds. Any group would want someone like me to help them.

    - - -
    If you decide to join Avery and Ormrod on their quest, go to [Page 17]
    - - -
    If you decide to remain in Almuj, go to [Page 18]
    - - -
    -
    Harrison is the sort of man that all of you have met before. He holds grudges, is arrogant, but you can’t help but feel bad for this guy. Because unlike most of us, he actually has aspirations. After getting kicked out of the army, he’s been camping out in the plains of Ragni.

    -----------------------------

    Today is going to be the day. I know it.

    When I wake up this morning I expect to hear the usual Nomad chatter. You know, discussions about the weather or complaints about local politics. But today, their attention was fixed on a massive bonfire burning from atop a tower.

    “What’s going on?” I ask someone standing nearby. They’re one of the villagers, a group of human-likes with large noses. I was told that they came from Gavel, a land far, far, away.

    “You haven’t been here long, have you?” he responds.

    “I am afraid that I haven’t.”

    “Whenever a horde of the undead leaves the Roots of Corruption, they send a series of signal fires all the way to Ragni and Troms. As I speak there’s an army of foul creatures heading our way, and the humans are mustering their forces to fight them.”

    I try to wrap my head around what this villager is talking about. I think I heard about the Roots of Corruption in some book? And I knew Troms was a big military city, and Ragni was where I came here from…

    Ragni. It had been two weeks since I set foot in that place. I remember when I first laid my eyes on that grand city, the place that I was supposed to call home. Until one day, I was kicked out of the military. They told me that I wasn’t “disciplined” enough and that I would be a liability. All of that was little more than unfounded lies.

    Although, looking back, me being discharged may only turn out to be a minor setback. After all, Bob was never in the army, so why did I have to be? Without rigid orders and rules telling me what to do, I was free to prove myself on my own terms. All I needed now was for someone to believe my worth.

    “Hey, hero!” Shouts a nomad named Dreken, “Looking to fight the corrupted armies single-handed!”

    “Shut it!” I yell back. Man, I hate this place so much. Sure, the Nomads were nice enough to let me into their camp, but they’re nothing more than a bunch of entitled hobos. They aren’t too keen about the fact that I’m trying to avoid being a nomad, which is strange, because who wants to smell bad and do nothing but complain about the weather?

    Luckily, their camp is only an hour away from a town called Maltic. It’s a decent-sized coastal town, and it had apparently had some historical value. All in all, it’s the sort of place where someone would need a hero to help them. Unfortunately, no one had needed my assistance so far. Someone asked me if I could work as a farm hand though, but why would I help with that?

    As I enter Maltic I took in all the sights, unchanged from the last time I came here. Children and chickens ran through alleyways, and I caught glimpses of hopeful shopkeepers through store windows. Like me, they wished that today would be some sort of lucky break, the moment where their destiny is fulfilled.

    But I won’t find it out in the middle of town. There’s a great place to get all the gossip and inside info, and that’s in Maltic’s tavern.

    - - -
    Go to [Page 11]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 4)
    Rilue


    “Welcome traveler!” The merchant is a cheerful woman wearing all sorts of jewelry. Judging by what she’s wearing and selling, she definitely seems to like necklaces.

    “How much does this one cost?” I ask. The necklace I point to is stunningly beautiful. It is a golden scorpion tail with a string wrapped around it, with a large sapphire encrusted inside it.

    “125 Emeralds,” she replies, “And the tail of a golden scorpion. That’s how my business works! You get what I need to craft more charms, and I sell my existing ones to you. That staff and old robe of yours tells me you’re a strong mage, it must be easy for you to kill a small scorpion.”

    “Yes,” I lie, slowly reaching towards the necklace, “I’m a sorceress and an adventurer, I travel the land looking for secrets to uncover and monsters to slay. Say, is it okay if I take a closer look at this necklace?”

    “Of course!” she replies, “It isn’t every day I’m in the presence of a mighty adventurer!”

    As she chuckles to herself I begin to wonder if theft is the correct option. Once my life of crime begins, there may be no going back.

    - - -
    If you decide to go ahead and steal the necklace, go to [Page 10]
    - - -
    If you reconsider and don’t choose to steal the necklace, go to [Page 5]
    - - -
    -
    Rilue


    “Hello!” you say as you walk up to the market stand, “How much for a basket of leeks?”

    The vendor here is a young man who doesn’t look much older than I am. His eyes are half-closed and he rests his chin on the stall.

    “Uhhh… yeah. I have that, freshly grown.” He mumbles, taking a moment to register my presence. “What fruit did you say you wanted?”

    “Figs,” I reply, his exhaustion amusing me. He’ll be easy to steal from.

    “That will be ten emeralds.”

    “How much would it cost if I also purchased some leeks?” Almost there. I slowly grab a cluster of grapes and pull it towards my bag. Given how this boy is acting, he probably can’t muster up the energy to alert the guards.

    “Zero,” he finally answers. “Considering how you’ll just steal it from me anyway.”

    I freeze, not expecting this relaxed of a reaction from him.

    “Just take it,” he mutters as I lift up my staff. “Dad will be happy when I say someone ate his crops. It doesn’t matter how.”

    Before he can reconsider I grab the cluster, turning away to run. It occurs to me too late that I should have thanked him.

    - - -
    Go to [Page 19]
    - - -
    -
    You have chosen Olivia! If you got to know her, you probably would want to get far away before you end up dead. Unless you’re the marauding sort, in which case she would make a worthy ally.

    ------------------------------------

    Somewhere in Wynn, Midnight


    “Are you sure your source was accurate? As in, you were absolutely certain? I know it’s too late to correct any mistakes we made, but I just want to make sure.”

    “I’ve told you a thousand times, Martin, our sources certain. I mean, what would that drunk guy have to gain from making up lies?”

    “I’d say he has the right to be nervous. Think about what’s at stake if we fail, Robyn.”

    I’ve never enjoyed working with common thieves, especially when they’re working in a group. They have low trust issues and never seem to stop arguing with one another, which isn’t best mentality to have in a team. Still, I needed work and pay and their offer was better than I’d usually get.

    The life of a criminal and a hitwoman wasn’t a simple one. You would never stay in the same spot for more than a week and therefor had no need to settle down, yet I still took jobs like any other freelance soldier would. I feel like many people would consider me some sort of murderous maniac. I’m not insane, and I’ve only killed people who were trying to kill me too. I just live this life because that’s what I’m best at doing.

    “I just have this hunch,” says Martin, “A feeling we’re going to fail.”

    “Whether you fail or not is none of your business,” replies Gev, the other member of our party, “You haven’t even been told what’s at stake.”

    “Which is?”

    “If I told you, you’d be even more worried.” I can’t stand cryptic people like this. They just need to cut the crap and tell me whatever’s on their mind. Either way, I’m not nervous about tonight. Druckish and that one priest were telling the truth when I interrogated them, and I think I’ve learned to spot a liar.

    Their confessions took us to tonight, where our group of four is lying in wait for a caravan to pass through. Apparently it will go down this road, where it will then bump into the trap we’ve set. That gives me the chance to overtake the guards and get the weapon we’re searching for.

    I have no idea what this weapon is. From what I’ve heard since I got hired a week ago, no one else knows either.

    “I see something!” Gev suddenly shouts.

    “Be quiet!” I reply, but I think he’s right. I can spot the silhouettes of three large shapes moving down the road. A few seconds later one of the bumps and then they all stop abruptly.

    “Now’s our chance, let’s go.”

    - - -
    Go to [Page 15]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 7)
    Rilue


    In the span of a few seconds I grab the necklace, point my staff behind me, and blink away from the market stall. Unfortunately, I didn’t account for where I would teleport to. I’ve crash-warped into someone else’s goods.

    “Guards!” I hear the jewelry peddler shout, “We have a thief over here!”

    I’m in trouble, although I guess I should have expected this. Three guards race towards me, spears in hand. If I try to fight back I’m sure they would try to use them, especially since I have the power of magic in my hand. I suppose I might as well use it again.

    I instantaneously travel up to the second floor of the city, which holds all the residential buildings. I definitely have a lead at this point, but a wave of nausea comes over me, making me feel sick as I travel. It only takes a few seconds to realize that I am very much lost. What part of the city did I teleport to? All the sandstone buildings look the same, and my heart beats faster with every noise I hear.

    I find myself running out of an alleyway and into a walkway near one of Almuj’s artificial rivers. I turn around to see a large wall, too high for me to safely teleport up.

    “Thief! You are ordered by Almuj to stop!”

    I’m trapped. There’s no way out of this except swimming across the river, which would be a good idea if I knew how to swim.

    The guards are closing in on me. “Don’t cast any spells!” one of them shouts.

    Spells! Why bother swimming when I can just teleport across? I point my staff at the other edge of the river when a part of the wall slides away, revealing a hidden passageway.

    - - -
    If you decide to enter the hidden passage, go to [Page 14]
    - - -
    If you decide to teleport across the river, go to [Page 16]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 6)
    Harrison

    “Greetings!” I shout as I step inside the tavern, “How are you this morning, Boris?”

    Boris is the tavernkeep; a sullen old villager who always puts business above all else. “Eh, okay I guess. I won’t lie, all this talk of the incoming corrupted armies is a bit unnerving. I don’t want to lose any of my good customers. They’re like family at this point.”

    “Exactly how I feel!” I say in preparation to barter with him, “Speaking of good customers, what are the chances that you could give me a free breakfast today?”

    “None. You’ve been here for what, a week now?”
    “Ten days.”

    “Sure, ten days. That’s enough time to for you to know I don’t give stuff for free, Harrison. Did your emerald supply finally run out?”

    When I left the army, I realized that in order to survive I needed money. At the nomad camp I got some rations, but not the amount I would prefer. So I sold my armor and sword. Technically they weren’t my equipment exactly, I sort of stole them from the barracks after I got discharged. I expected to get use out them fighting the undead.”

    “How about we make a deal?” I ask Boris. “You give me eggs and porridge today, and I’ll pay you back double next week. I should have the money by then.”

    “No! Do you really expect me to fall for that trick?”

    “I’m not tricking you, I’m just giving you an offer! Here, I’ll even pay you triple the amount next week.”

    “Are you trying to get kicked out of my tavern? I thought you liked this place, but here you are, clearly trying to scam me!”

    I can’t see any way to win this argument. While it’s a fate that I’d rather not accept, it looks like I’ll have to leave the tavern. I turn around and I’m just about to exit when I hear a voice near me.

    “Young man? Could you help me?”

    To my left an old human is seated at a table. “Are you referring to me?” I ask as I approach him.

    “Yes. I saw you here yesterday. At one point you shouted that you’re some sort of hero for hire, correct?”

    “Yes!” Could this be it, a sliver of hope at long last?

    “You see, I’m a poor farmer, and you seem like the sort of man who would do something for free.”

    “Do what?” Money wasn’t a concern for me, at least for now. After I help this villager out word of my deeds will surely spread, and soon I’d be getting better paying quests.

    “A few of my crops have disappeared. I want you to find out who did it.”

    “You want me to help you with your… farming?”

    “Correct. The other day, I noticed that some of the berries I was growing were gone. I need someone to camp out near my crops and catch the hooligan who’s stealing from me.”

    “I don’t think you’ll need my help.” I was all for a proper quest, but this doesn’t count as proper. A man discharged from the army who also helped a farmer get his food back isn’t much better than a man who’s simply discharged from the army. “The problem is likely a result of some hungry animal, or maybe a corrupted.”

    “The undead don’t eat fruits. You’re a human too, you should be aware of things like this!”

    “Well I haven’t been here for long, you see…”

    At that moment, the door to the tavern burst open and three guards marched inside. “Citizens of Maltic!” one of them shouts, “Ragni and its surrounding lands are under attack, and we need your help to repel the undead threat!”

    There’s a brief moment of silence before someone pipes up. “What do you need our help for!” complains one of the tavern’s patrons, “If I wanted to fight the corrupted I would have enlisted in the army already.”

    “Our army is unfortunately not up to standard,” explains another one of the soldiers, “We don’t have as large an army as we have in the past, and the king has ordered to us to search for able warriors.” It’s pretty obvious that their army isn’t up to speed, considering that they kick out perfectly good men like myself.

    “Well why should I help?” objects a villager, “I came here from Gavel five years ago, and I’m not risking my life to defend a king I have no allegiance to!”

    “Your province had made an agreement with ours!” argues a furious human who I’d seen in the tavern several times, “If you’re capable of fighting it your duty to defend the province!”

    “This isn’t my province, and I’m not accepting a death sentence!”

    “If it isn’t your province than you might as well just swim back to Gavel!”

    “Enough!” shouts Boris over the din. “I will not tolerate any political quarrels in my tavern!”

    “So be it,” the Wynnic patriot shouts, “Well, I’m going to join the fight. Who else is with me!” He gets out of his seat and lumbers towards the guards.

    Could this be my chance? I would simply enlist under a different name, put forth a valiant effort on the battlefield, and no one would be the wiser. I begin to rise out of my seat when the old human leans towards me.

    “Don’t do it,” he whispers, far too quiet for anyone but me to hear. “I fought in the war before. I witnessed thousands of men and corrupted clash in a bloodbath that would determine the fate of nothing. If you want a chance to prove yourself, the offer to help me out still stands.”

    I’m not sure what to do. Dying on the battlefield is certainly out of the question, but where else do I have to go?

    - - -
    If you decide to join the army under an alias, go to [Page 22]
    - - -
    If you decide to help the old man with their farm problem, go to [Page 27]
    - - -
    If neither of these jobs seem worth it, go to [Page 29]
    - - -
    -
    Even though he's younger than anyone in this tavern, Esdel is a very talented person. That being said, he’s growing up and needs to accept the fact that life won’t always be this way.

    -----------------------------

    Nivla Village, Early in the Evening:


    “The spider was massive, with legs almost as long as yours, Ceilo. And unfortunately it had noticed me. All of its large red eyes were pointed right at my hiding spot in the undergrowth, and I would be its next meal of the day.”

    “But you survived, didn’t you?”

    “Of course I did, I had already nocked an arrow onto my bowstring. I drew it back, released, and shot that spider right in the center of the head. And I won!”

    “That’s it?”

    “Yes, I had no more luck on my hunt, good or bad. That’s why we ended up having mushroom stew again tonight.”

    “Do you have any other stories?”

    In Nivla Village, life is a lot more exciting than somewhere else in Wynn. You would think that wouldn’t be the case, with such a small population, but everyone’s life in the village is an adventure. At a young age I was taught how to forage food and fend for myself, and in a few years my younger brother Ceilo would learn the same. For now, though, he had to settle for hearing about my adventures.

    “Are you sure? I’m bored, and Elder Oroak has told me all the stories he knows too.”

    “Not all the stories, he hasn’t told you the ones that you’re too young to understand!” I say with a smirk.

    “Oh come on! Why do I have to be a kid, there’s nothing to do here in these woods!”

    I can’t help but feel bad for him. When I was his age I felt the same way, impatient and wanting an adventure. And as his older brother, I suppose it’s my goal to him out.

    “Hey, Ceilo. Where’s the farthest you’ve ever traveled from the village border?”

    “Huh?” Ceilo’s eyes seem to light up; I definitely have his attention. “Uhhh, Hatath took me few minutes away from the village border once, I think that’s it. He needed help finding saccharum plants. Why do you ask?”

    “How would you like to go a little farther into the woods?”

    “Yes!” shouts Ceilo with unstoppable glee, “Finally, I get to go on an adventure! What do I bring? Should I bring a bow also?”

    “You don’t need to take anything with you, just make sure not to get in harm’s way. Meet me outside the house, I need to grab my equipment.”

    I never go anywhere outside the village without my bow and arrows. All the arrows were made myself in recent months. When my supply started to dwindle, I had to go out and find the stones and fletching needed to make new ones. There’s no store in Nivla Village to find something you need, unlike other parts of the province. As for the bow, I’ve had it for years. Dad gave it to me on my fifteenth birthday. He told me that my time had come, that it was up to me to look after the family now that he was growing older. I’ll never forget that moment; it was at that time when I knew it was my duty to be a hero. To be the guardian of the Nivla Woods.

    Once I’ve gather my equipment I creep down the stairway exit that spirals around a massive tree. I’ve gone “outside” my house an endless amount of times, yet the sight of the forest village never ceases to amaze me. It’s like walking right into one of the old stories about beautiful far-off places. And tonight, Ceilo will have that same experience, only he’ll be going somewhere that’s he’s never been before.

    “Are you ready?” I ask him.

    “Heroes of Wynn are always ready!”

    “You, a hero of Wynn? Maybe soon, but not today!”

    I turn around to spot a familiar face; my best friend Lannor. There are a few other boys among my age in the village, but none of them have an eye for adventure and discovery that Lannor does. Much to his family’s annoyance, he used to sneak out of the village boundaries at a young age and return with stories of the outside world. I’m shocked that he never got killed by a spider or undead while on his excursions. As soon as we were old enough the two of us tried to explore every inch of the woods, mapping out ruined towers and abandoned villages.

    “Al,” my friend says to me, “You’ll never guess where I was today.”

    “Umm…”

    “You see, earlier today Elder Oroak asked to speak with me, and I knew that something exciting was going to happen. I was right, he told me how to get into the old temple!”

    Elder Oroak had been the mayor of our village longer than anyone could remember. He had fought in some of the greatest battles against the corruption and had accumulated plenty of knowledge in both the world and methods of combat. After our village became famous due to The Legend of Bob, many heroes came to visit our home. Even though the great mage Ethe was no longer here, Oroak took it upon himself to teach them everything he knew, becoming a mentor to them. It was always enjoyable to see someone come to the village and leave as a far stronger warrior.

    It was always obvious that Oroak knew more about these woods than anyone else did. One of the strangest things in the forest was an old temple that was magically sealed shut. Lannor and I suspected that Oroak knew how to get inside, but he never told anyone. Until today.

    “He told me the incantation to open it, and I finally got to see what’s inside. Come on Esdel, this is your chance to see something few others have!” Lannor starts running towards the road that leads out of the village.

    “I know, but…” I glance over at Ceilo, who’s been watching our conversation with interest. I’ve longed to see what was inside the temple, but taking my younger brother there might be too dangerous.

    - - -
    If you decide to explore the temple, go to [Page 13]
    - - -
    If you decide to show Ceilo around the forest, go to [Page 45]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 12)
    Esdel


    “Sorry Ceilo, but the temple we’re going to is at least half an hour from here. I don’t want to risk having you being that far from home.”

    “Why not? I can prove myself.”

    “I’m sorry, I know you really wanted to do this. Why don’t we wait until tomorrow? It will be a lot brighter out then, okay?”

    “Okay.” I can tell that he’s trying to be calm, but I can spot a few tears running down his face. “I have chores to do anyway.”

    “I’ll see you soon, Ceilo! Don’t worry” I shout back to him as Lannor and I depart. There are sentries hiding all around the village, and if they notice us they don’t say anything. Both of us have proven our skill here in Nivla, and as soon as we’re eighteen we can officially join the village guard.

    “That was an awful thing to do.” I say once we leave the border, “He seemed so excited, maybe I should go back and we can visit the temple another day.”

    “Don’t feel bad,” says Lannor reassuringly, “There’s always tomorrow, and I doubt your brother had any plans. I mean, do you expect the forest to change tomorrow?”

    “Of course not.”

    “Well, he’ll be fine. Don’t worry about things like this.”

    I decide to stop talking about my brother and instead focus on finding the temple. At this time of day, it’s easy to get lost in these dark woods.

    “It’s getting pretty dark,” I say to Lannor, “Are you sure we didn’t pass the temple by accident?”

    “No. Remember, there’s a small path that leads to it!” He holds his palm outward and mutters an incantation. Slowly, an orb of fire begins to materialize in his hand, lighting our path.

    “If you bothered practicing magic,” he jokes, “You wouldn’t be worrying about getting lost.”

    “Magic is useless when you’re able to impale a boar from sixty meters away.”

    “You’ll run out of arrows eventually!”

    We continue onward for a while, and the sounds of the village die down completely. We’re left with nothing but the wind and the occasional sound of movement. I can’t tell if noises are coming from a small animal or a giant spider, and that’s why I rarely go out at night.

    “We’re here.” Lannor guides me to a large stone structure that I had visited many times. The temple, an anomaly in an already strange forest. The building is in decent condition despite being untouched for a while; it isn’t crumbling to bits like the old guard towers that overlook the main road. Two small stone statues stand near a sealed door, their false halberds doing little more than look impressive.

    Lannor touches the door and begins muttering words I’ve never heard before. This has to be the incantation to enter the temple, and there’s no way I’ll remember what he’s saying. I guess if I wanted to return here I’d rely on my friend, because a few seconds later the door slides open.

    A staircase is revealed, its steps beginning to crumble from neglect. Lannor holds his orb of fire out in front of him, and I slowly descend the stairs.

    “Come on,” my companion says, “It’s not like this temple is infested with spiders or anything.” I pick up my pace, continuing down the staircase until we reach a large circular room. Using his magical lamp of fire, Lannor lights several torches in the room, revealing carvings on the temple walls.

    “What is this?” I say in awe as I glance around the room. Chisled into the walls of the temple is writing I cannot decipher and pictures of events that I’ve never heard of. One image shows two figures fighting, one holding a spear and the other one possibly channeling magic. A different mural is far more unsettling with depiction of a skeleton cradling a child in its hands. I recognize a symbol above this picture: the emblem of Ragni.

    “I don’t know what any of this means either,” answers Lannor. “I guess the pictures look good, but what’s the point of writing in a language no one can understand?”

    “Maybe we’re not supposed to understand it.”

    “Then that’s just a load of cow dung. Maybe we should just head back to the village. There’s nothing in this room that I haven’t already looked at.”

    “Wait, let me just take a look at this one picture.” This one depicts two figures, one bowing to the other. But the most interesting thing here are what appear to be sketched trees. Could this be…

    I hear someone.

    No, I hear something.

    “Undead. They’re coming!” I nock an arrow onto my bow and Lannor prepares to launch a magic attack. Sure enough, a group of zombies begins to stumble down the temple steps, the group attracted to our presence. What they don’t know is that we’re stronger than some mere farmers.

    I launch my first arrow, which hits a zombie square in the head. It staggers for a few seconds and then crumbles to the ground, and its fellow corrupted waste no time climbing over it. I quickly fire more arrows, while my friend shoots small balls of fire beside me. One by one our enemies go down, their remains riddled with burn marks and arrows. We’ve won without a scratch.

    “Hard to believe that these monsters almost destroyed Wynn. Still though, let’s get out of here before more trouble finds us.

    The two of us walk out of temple and into the night. It’s pitch-black, aside from something in the distance.

    “What’s the glowing thing among the trees?” I ask Lannor, who turns out to be as confused as I am.

    “A campfire? That seems to be the only logical explanation. But wait… is it moving towards us?”

    Sure enough, the fire moves closer and I begin to make out its shape. The anomaly has two legs and head, but what’s really strange are the multiple arms sprouting out of its torso. It raises some of those arms, and they begin to flail around, channeling the fire that surrounds them into a sphere.

    “Get down!” I shout the Lannor. The two of us jump out of view just in time; the being shoots a massive ball of fire at us, which misses and explodes several meters away.

    “What is that thing? Some corrupted abomination?”

    “What do you think? Normal creatures don’t look like that!” Although there’s humor in Lannor sentence, I can tell that he’s worried about our situation.

    I look up to see another fireball arcing through the woods. As it lands closer to us than the previous on did, I become more worried myself.

    - - -
    If you decide to run away from the monster, go to [Page 46]
    - - -
    If you decide to stay and fight the monster, go to [Page 47]
    - - -
    -
    This isn't a part of the story, it's just a way to easily access a group of pages.
    [X] Pages 14-39
    [X] Pages 40-56
    [X] Pages 57-65
    [X] Pages 66-79
    [X] Page 80-81
    -
    Character List
     
    Last edited: Feb 2, 2019
  2. TheStormLizard

    TheStormLizard Zane HERO

    Messages:
    454
    Likes Received:
    283
    Trophy Points:
    72
    Minecraft:
    Man that was awesome, insane idea, loved it. Except when it ended... I wanted to see if I died from stealing that necklace
     
  3. A Human

    A Human Definitely not an alien.

    Messages:
    1,526
    Likes Received:
    1,486
    Trophy Points:
    90
    Guild:
    Minecraft:
    Same! Can’t wait to read more!
     
  4. TheStormLizard

    TheStormLizard Zane HERO

    Messages:
    454
    Likes Received:
    283
    Trophy Points:
    72
    Minecraft:
    What was your first ending?
     
  5. Skywalkinerate

    Skywalkinerate Anthony Skywalker / Darth Cinerate

    Messages:
    123
    Likes Received:
    48
    Trophy Points:
    26
    Minecraft:
    An interestinteresting storystory ,li
    Love the story so far. Can't wait to see what happnes next. Check out my story as well ."For The Wynn" let's revive the fanfics . Lol
     
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
  6. NoHaxxJustCake

    NoHaxxJustCake Titan's Legacy VIP+

    Messages:
    36
    Likes Received:
    11
    Trophy Points:
    18
    Guild:
    Minecraft:
    Destiny's Arrival? Fits with the choose-your-own-adventure style while also feeling a bit mystic.
     
    WithTheFish likes this.
  7. WithTheFish

    WithTheFish voted most likely to make a deal with demons Staff Member Moderator HERO

    Messages:
    3,636
    Likes Received:
    7,153
    Trophy Points:
    217
    Minecraft:
    I really like that one, thank you for suggesting it!

    Thank you, this really means a lot to me! If you're wondering what will happen next, I plan on adding a dozen or more pages each Saturday. (Spoiler alert, no one's going to die this early in the story)
     
    Eric Yang likes this.
  8. Quint

    Quint ilysm nicktree <3 | Formerly FanceDance HERO Builder

    Messages:
    690
    Likes Received:
    1,064
    Trophy Points:
    130
    Creator Karma:
    Guild:
    Minecraft:
    Loving it!
     
  9. Theeef

    Theeef Lurker of the Abyss HERO

    Messages:
    1,929
    Likes Received:
    1,281
    Trophy Points:
    117
    Minecraft:
    Huh... I like these a lot. Please make more! I stole the food
     
    WithTheFish likes this.
  10. TheStormLizard

    TheStormLizard Zane HERO

    Messages:
    454
    Likes Received:
    283
    Trophy Points:
    72
    Minecraft:
    I stole the necklace .3.
     
  11. Theeef

    Theeef Lurker of the Abyss HERO

    Messages:
    1,929
    Likes Received:
    1,281
    Trophy Points:
    117
    Minecraft:
    I would rather steal the food because if you do get caught you’ll get in less trouble. Also you don’t have to resell the necklace to get food.

    Also the necklace would be really loud and people would wonder where I got it if someone saw me with it after.

    Also @WithTheFish can you @ me when you make more or add additions pls?
     
    Last edited: Jul 25, 2018
  12. WithTheFish

    WithTheFish voted most likely to make a deal with demons Staff Member Moderator HERO

    Messages:
    3,636
    Likes Received:
    7,153
    Trophy Points:
    217
    Minecraft:
    (From Page 10)
    Rilue


    I don’t hesitate before dashing into the hidden passage. It’s only when the door closes behind me that I wonder if there’s another way in or out. Either way, the guards can’t reach me here.

    “Hello? Is anyone in here?” My question is met with silence, but clearly someone else has been here recently. Torches are lit on the walls, and I can smell something familiar in the distance. Smoke.

    The passage twists and turns until takes me to a large chamber. It’s difficult to breathe, because some idiot villager has filled the room with smog from a campfire.

    “Sit down!” the idiot says to me. “The guards… you’re free now. They won’t find you here. They’ve never been able to find… The Black Market.”

    “Black Market?” I ask. “You mean the same Black Market from all those legends?”

    “The very same. Although… it’s not at its former glory. Sit down. Eat some roasted Wybel. It’s a delicacy where I come from.”

    “And where do you come from?”

    “Nowhere.”

    I sigh. Like most villagers I’ve met, he’s greedier than he is intelligent. But if he runs a black market, I should be able to sell this necklace to him without any guards noticing.

    “I have something for you, Mr. Black Market.” I hold up the necklace and his eyes widen.

    “Very fine craftsmanship. I would buy it.”

    “Okay, how much will you pay more it.”

    “No,” he replies, “I would buy it if I had enough money. I don’t have enough money. It would be dishonorable to give you the petty amount of money have now for such incredible jewelry. My Black Market has just begun. No one has brought anything from me, and I have little money. But I have items and rarities of great power!”

    “Like what? I’m not selling this necklace if I don’t know what I’m getting in return.”

    The villager takes a look at my staff before he gets up from his seat. “A book of the dark arts. I’ve learned a few tricks from it myself, although a dagger remains my weapon of choice.”

    He ventures into a storage alcove and returns a minute later with an aged leather book. There’s something strangely familiar about it, but I’m not sure what.

    “Can I take a look inside?”

    “Yes, but no funny business. Like I said, a dagger is my preferred weapon.”

    He hands me the book and I don’t hesitate to look inside. I gasp when I discover that my prediction was correct; this book was a journal written by Lodrona.

    “How did this get here?” Up until now, I believed that the Almuj guard had confiscated all of Lodrona’s journals and guides years ago.

    “I brought it from someone. I assume they brought it from someone else. Now are you going to trade me the necklace for this or not?

    - - -
    If you keep the necklace to sell emeralds, go to [Page 33] This means you won’t get the book.
    - - -
    If you decide to sell the necklace for the book, go to [Page 34]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 9)
    Olivia


    “What the hell happened?” says one of the confused guards as they step out of their wagon, “Did we hit something?”

    “Looks like it’s just a rock, I don’t think it broke the wheel. I’ll move it and we’ll be on our way.”

    “Wait for it,” I whisper as the four of us crouch behind a log. “We’ll strike silently and when they’re most distracted. When I give you the signal Martin, shoot the guard who’s keeping a lookout.

    I watch as the other guard, who upon further inspection doesn’t seem that well-armed, takes a look at our trap.

    “What in the Bovine’s name is this?” he asks his companion, “Is this some kind of prank? Should we warn Sayleros about this?”

    “Now.” Upon my command, Martin lets loose an arrow that hits its target square in the chest.

    “Help!” cries out the remaining guard as we run towards him, “We’re under attack! We’re under atta-augh!”

    “Seems to be the caravan driver,” I says as I retrieve my thrown dagger, “Either way, he was armed and would probably attack us.”

    “It isn’t over yet; we have more troops incoming!” Upon hearing Gev’s words I turn to my left to see five men approach. Whatever the Nonest family is guarding must be important.

    I unsheathe my sword, a weapon that I’ve used few times since I began my life as an assassin. Hopefully my skills haven’t gotten rusty. As the first guard nears our group I step to the side and parry their incoming attack. Before he has a chance to react I stab him in the side. Beside me Robyn and Gev are besting soldiers of their own, and Martin manages to hit the fourth opponent in the head. Only one man remains: a mage judging by their staff. But before any of us can react he points his weapon towards the night sky and lets forth a beam of light.

    “What’s he doing?” Robyn asks, “Is his trying to summon something?”

    “I don’t know much about magic,” replies Martin, already drawing back his bow, “But I don’t like it at all.”

    “At the end of the day!” begins the mage, “The side of justice will prevail!” And then Martin’s arrow hits him.

    “That seems to be it then.”

    “On the contrary,” responds Robyn, “We’ve only just begun. Search the caravans, there may be more soldiers hiding. Then we’ll find our weapon.”

    I peer into the first caravan. There’s nothing but crates that we’ll end up peering inside later, and we find the same in the second. But in the final caravan we discover a couple of older men and women, all of them quaking. The one closest to us holds a dagger with a shaky hand.

    “My brother…” he stammers, “I heard him cry out for help. What did you do to him!”

    “He’s unconscious,” I lie, not wanting to provoke outrage from a frantic man. “And if you lot don’t stay put there will be far worse consequences.” As I turn away I catch a final glimpse of their faces, all of which are filled with a sickening sense of horror.

    “Robyn and I will keep watch,” Martin says to me as I exit the wagon, “You can help Gev search for the weapon.”

    “I’m fine with that.”

    I climb into the cart farthest away from me and I take a look inside. It’s filled with an assortment of crates with no markings setting them apart. It’ll take a while to find whatever we’re looking for.

    The first crate has nothing inside but some old lamps. The second one yields equally useless results; with a pile of old books that I doubt have any powers. And then I find a box sealed with a lock. Could this be what I’m looking for? Hastily, I pull out a pick from one of my pockets and open it up. Inside are liquified emeralds, more than I’ve ever seen in my life. Even if I split this money with my fellow criminals I’d be rich. Yet if the Nonest family had this much money, why weren’t we retrieving it instead of some weapon?

    “Eleanora! Come out from where you’re hiding and face me, coward!”

    I pause. That was my name, my true name that I left behind when I started my life as an assassin. Who was this person, and how did they know about my past?

    - - -
    If you decide to investigate the source of this voice, go to [Page 21]
    - - -
    If you decide to continue searching for the weapon, go to [Page 25]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 10)
    Rilue


    Once again, the power of magic comes to my advantage. I instantaneously appear on the other side of the river, and it will take a while for the guards to catch up. I’m only a minute away from the slums, but I have a feeling the guards would try to look for me there. Maybe I could escape into the desert? No, that would be too risky…

    My right hand is suddenly filled with excruciating pain. It’s as if it is on fire, but at the same time it doesn’t feel burnt.

    “Ice magic,” says a voice from behind me, “It surprises rodents like you every time. They know the cold of the desert, but would never expect to feel it in broad daylight.”

    A man in a light blue robe is walking towards me with one of Almuj’s guards flanking him. In his hand is a staff made of a blue metal, with what appears to be an orb of water ebbing and flowing around its tip. Despite holding the staff at an angle, the water never loses its spherical shape.

    “Give up,” states the guard. “I doubt you’ll win a fight against one of Almuj’s finest mages. Now give us the necklace and you’ll go easy.”

    I start to panic. I’ve been caught, and a spell won’t save me this time. Maybe I could trick them somehow?

    “I’m sorry, but I believe you have the wrong person. I purchased this necklace a week ago as a present for my grandmother. I was just delivering it to her when you decided to stop me.”

    “Nice try. If you’re just delivering a necklace, then why did I see you teleport across a river? I’m sure if we speak to other guards, or even the merchant you stole this necklace from, you won’t seem like a kind girl helping her grandmother. Now give me your staff.”

    I can’t disobey his order. Any form of resistance will just lead to a bigger problem, although a wave of dread passes over me as I give up my acacia staff. That was my only chance at ever preforming magic, and now it’s gone.

    “Don’t be sad,” taunts the guard. “You aren’t the first wannabe mage to end up in prison.”

    - - -
    Go to [Page 23]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 5)
    Rilue


    “Excellent!” Ormrod says. “Now, would anyone else like to join us?”

    We glance around at the civilians. None of them look the least bit interested, and I can’t blame them that much. I’m not even sure if I’m making the right decision going on this adventure.

    “No one?” Once again, Ormrod is met with silence.

    “Well then, the three of us shall rid Almuj of this mummy! Just you wait, a few days from now we shall return victorious!” A few people clap, and Ormrod turns to us. “Avery, what do we do now? Do we get new horses? Mine was stolen by bandits, so I’m not sure if horses are the best idea.”

    This adventure might not be as heroic as he plans.

    ~ ~ ~​

    For the first time in my life, I’m leaving the city of Almuj. I would always hear travelers say how alluring the city looked from a distance. I now understand why they think that.

    Ormrod’s plan was to make it to the tomb by nightfall, but the desert is two vast and we have to be careful where our horses tread. Every sandpile could hide a dangerous scorpion that could cause a lion to collapse. After a few hours we decide to stop for the night, and Avery ventures out to find something to eat.

    “So,” says Ormrod after a long silence, “You’re a mage, aren’t you?”

    “No,” I answer. “I just know a few spells.”

    “Ah. Well, I suppose you have to start somewhere. Are you an apprentice to anyone?”

    “Also no. I’m what you call self-taught.”

    “Well, if you need a master to teach you, I would recommend going to Gavel. Everyone there is taught magic at a young age, and you could hire someone for cheap. Besides, my home city of Llevigar is a lot like Almuj. You would like it there.”

    “I hate Almuj, “I say, correcting him. “And I already plan to sail to Mage Island, wherever that is.”

    “Ah, it seems like you’re confused. You don’t go to Mage Island if you know little magic, you go there if you know a lot of magic. They’ll send you right back to where you came from.”

    I pause. Not once did I hear that bit of information about the island. Lodrona always said the mages there were pretentious, so I guess it could be true.

    “If all villagers are taught magic, then why don’t you teach me?” I ask.

    “Like you, I’m not the best at magic. Besides, I don’t have a wand.” His explanation is reasonable, but the way he quickly speaks suggests that there might be some other reason.

    “Shhh… keep it down.”

    “Avery!” I half-shout. “Where did you come from?”

    “From the desert. Unlike you two, I’ve been keeping it quiet. We don’t know what creatures are out here. Anyway, I found a cave nearby. It’s a safer place to spend the night. And I hope you like cooked scorpion, because it’s the only food I found.”

    Of course I like cooked scorpion, especially on an empty stomach. Everyone in Almuj does, although it seems I can’t say the same about outsiders. When we’re all settled around a campfire in the cave, Ormrod barely touches his food.

    “Don’t like scorpion?” Avery asks.

    “I’m not hungry,” Ormrod tells us. “I’m too tired to eat anything. It feels like ages since I got a good night’s rest.”

    He pauses, taking a minute to stare out of the cave and at the stars.

    “Are you sure you both can do this? I feel like I’m sending you to your deaths. When danger arrives, there’s no way I can help either of you. My magic is pathetic, I’m not great with a sword, not to mention that my curse might get us all killed. I shouldn’t have dragged both of you into this. Tomorrow we’ll go back to Almuj.”

    “No,” Avery says, staring right at Ormrod, “If you truly woke up an ancient cursed being, then we need to stop it. At the very least, we’ll reach the tomb tomorrow, and figure out a strategy there. Speaking of which, we’re all tired and need to get some sleep. Rilue, you’re on lookout duty for the first four hours.”

    “Alright!” I’m not the best fighter in the group, but I can yell loud enough to wake Avery up. Better to get guard duty out of the way now and not have to be woken up in the middle of the night.

    I stand at the edge of the cavern, looking out into the endless expanse of sand. I hear nothing aside from our horses occasionally grunting. As far as I can tell, I see nothing either. It’s just me and my tired companions.

    The life of an adventurer seems a lot less exciting than I thought, but that’s not a bad thing.

    - - -
    Go to [Page 44]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 5)
    Rilue


    “I’m sorry,” I respond, “But I don’t think I’m cut out for this kind of job. I'm not any sort of hero, and I'm sure there are a lot of better sorcerers who will help you for free."

    Avery looks at me, her expression having the slightest hint of disappointment. “Don’t worry about it. I wouldn’t want you to get killed out there. I’m sure Ormrod and I can find some Mage in the city to aid us.”

    Avery says her goodbyes and then heads off with Ormrod deeper into the city, leaving me alone. Well, not really alone. The slums are always filled with activity, especially at this time of day. Flodur from the budget store is here, providing food for people like me. Today he’s made delicious soup, and I can’t thank him enough when it’s time for my meal.

    When I’m done eating I decide to practice a few spells. In the old stories, the hero Bob practiced magic every day for five years before he became a master of the art. I had practiced magic a few times a month for five years, and all I knew where the most basic spells.

    I flip through my spellbook, looking for something that could be safely cast in a populated area. I eventually reach a page labeled “Ice Snake.” As I read the description however, this spell becomes more familiar to me. I tried learning it a while back, but I have no idea how to “channel the cold” or anything like that.

    I turn to another page. “Chain Lightning” sounds like it would accidentally kill a lot of people.

    “Rainstorm?” No, too complex for someone at my level.

    Eventually I realize that I probably need more space. I grab my book and walk deeper into the desert, but close enough so that I could quickly teleport back to slums if needed. Now I have space to try a new spell; “Quake.” For someone like me, it would cause the ground to shake a bit. For someone like Lodrona, it could cause a stone wall to collapse.

    As instructed, I lift my staff in the air and concentrate on angry thoughts. I think back to this morning, when I realized I was penniless; and swing my weapon down. Nothing happens, except the sands around my feet shift a bit. But that could just be the wind. I’m about to raise my staff and try this spell again when I notice something in the distance.

    It appears to be a group of people. Bandits? Merchants? Either way, they’re headed towards the slums. I run back and let the guards know that a group is approaching. If they are travelers, it is our duty to give them a place to rest, even if our living space isn’t the most comfortable. If they’re bandits… we’ll fight to the death.

    It turns out that they are neither. It is a group of villagers dressed in what looks like mining equipment. One villager in particular appears to be their leader, and his acolytes gather around him as he prepares to make the second speech of the day.

    “Citizens of Almuj, Gavel gives you its greetings!” he says. “My name is Vade, and I belong to an organization from Gavel. We go by the name of Wynn-Excavation.”

    - - -
    Go to [Page 20]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 8)
    Rilue


    There are a lot of things I hate about this city, but boy is it beautiful. One of my favorite things to do is sit on a ledge and look down at the market, a perfect activity to do while I eat my fruit. From my vantage point I see the guards looking for criminals, the bartering of merchants, and that one merchant boy I got my food from. Maybe one day I’d become a part of the market’s network. I would sell magical objects and weaponry – after I rose to fame as an archmage of course.

    Sadly, that plan is nothing more than a fantasy. But the thing about fantasies is that you wish they were real. To become in archmage, or any sort of powerful sorceress, I’d need to be taught magic. And the only known place where I can do that is Mage Island, located who-knows-where in a faraway land. Then again, do I even want to travel there? Lodrona always said the mages there were a bunch of aristocrats who never even preform magic.

    When I’m done eating I slouch against the wall and relax. It’s perfect outside; warm but not blistering like some days in the desert. I lay there for a long time before I head back to the slums.

    ~ ~ ~​

    Something is going on. When I return to the Slums of Almuj I see a crowd of people gathered around a group of villagers.

    “Greetings!” one of them says. “My name is Vade, and I belong to an organization from Gavel. We go by the name of Wynn-Excavation.”

    - - -
    Go to [Page 28]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 18)
    Rilue


    “Your whole lives you have known only part of your own province’s history. Let me guess, most of you consider it a land of danger, the land where corruption holds you in its grip?”

    Vade’s description may be overdramatic, but it’s true. The corruption made Wynn what it is.

    “Look around!” continues Vade. “Buried in the desert, and all around the province, are relics of the past just waiting to be uncovered. Who knows what secrets will be found! Now I have an offer for you all: join us in excavating an ancient temple in this desert. We need more workers, and if you help us we will provide you with protection, water, food, and money. No longer will you have to rely on the charity store to get what you need. Join us, and we will work towards a brighter future for the province.”

    This statement caused quite the reaction. Apart from charity, food was hard to get without money, and that’s what Ormrod offered.

    “You want me to join?” an older human exclaims. “Then I’ll join! I have lost faith in Almuj, and here you come giving us a chance. Take me to your excavation site.”

    He’s met with cheering, and Vade can’t seem to help be smile.

    “Welcome to Wynn-Excavation. We’re about to set off back to our site, anyone who chooses to join us is free to, and you will receive everything I’ve talked about.”

    The caravan of villagers turns around to head into the desert, and a sizeable group of men from the slums join him.

    “Rilue, please don’t go with them! You’re young and still have a future ahead of you. I know what will happen if you join them. Gavel won’t care if your blood is in the sands.”

    Nick is standing behind me. He’s a strange man, but also considered one of the leaders of our part of Almuj. I won’t deny that Wynn-Excavation sounds like it would help me. After all, I finally would have a job, a source of income, a way to survive.

    - - -
    If you choose to join Wynn-Excavation, go to [Page 36]
    - - -
    If you choose to remain in Almuj, go to [Page 37]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 15)
    Olivia


    “Who’s there?” I ask as I step out of the wagon, curiosity getting the best of me, “Step out from wherever you’re hiding! Until you do you have no right to call me a coward!”

    “Maybe coward doesn’t describe you well, but at the same time it isn’t harsh enough. You’re a murderer, there’s no way to sugarcoat that.”

    “Well, it is what I’m best at...” There’s something familiar about her voice…

    I glance around to see where this enemy is and find a figure a few dozen meters away from the cart. She appears armored, but it’s hard to see any of her other features.

    “How good are you at sword fighting, Eleanora? I assume those rats taught you well.”

    My surroundings seem to fade away; for I finally know who this warrior is. “Better at it than you are… Anna.” If my sister has a reaction to me saying her name out loud, she doesn’t show it.

    “Before we begin, how did you find me?” I ask.

    “I’ve been tracking you and the filth you associate with for the past week. Lost sight of you a few hours ago, but guess what? You make a lot of noise fighting, and here I am now. Admit it, your time is up. I’ll enjoy dragging you to the nearest prison myself.”

    “Still determined to be a knight, are you? Mother was never pleased about your preferred career choice.”

    “At least she was always more pissed off at you.” A noise briefly distracts us. I turn around to see reinforcements charging down a hill. “Seems like your friends are in trouble.”

    “Guess I’ll go help them once I’m finished with you.” I unsheathe my sword and step forward, ready for a fight. “Bring it on!”

    We rush forward, our blades colliding as we meet each other on the road. Immediately, I swing my sword right, hoping to strike Anna in the side, but with lightning speed she blocked my attack.

    “You fight well,” I sarcastically say to my sister,

    “And you fight a lot fairer than I would have guess.”

    “That’s just what I want you to think.” As I parry a stroke of my opponent’s sword, I press a hidden notch on the hilt of my own blade. Immediately my sword ignites into a blazing sabre, causing Anna to recoil backwards.

    With her in shock, I’m able to press forward with hard-hitting weapons and push my opponent back. Eventually her defensive strategy will give way… but I know in my heart that I wouldn’t be able to kill her. I could win and hold my victory over her head forever, but slaying her felt like it was a violation of the laws of the world, unlike any of my past murders. Maybe it was just because I’d known her my whole childhood, and I’d just be taking the rest of her life away from her.

    “Olivia! Jump in!”

    I briefly turn from the fight to see one of the wagons racing down the road; with horses pulling it in a frenzy. At the driver’s reins I see Gev, looking frantic and with blood on his arm. Before Anna can react I run away from the fight and jump in the wagon.

    “Oh no, you aren’t getting away this easily!” I hear her shout as I climb inside. Once I’m in I look behind me to see a small ball of fire racing towards our cart.

    “Dammit!” I complain, “Since when did she learn magic?”

    “Who is that warrior anyway?” replies a familiar thief’s voice from inside the wagon. “Given that you abandoned us to fight her. And now look, our wagon’s on fire. Quick, help me search the crates in here before we have to jump ship.”

    “Where’s Martin?” I ask as I pry open the lid of a box. There’s nothing inside but some spare clothes.

    “He didn’t make it.”

    “Oh. I’m sorry to hear about it.”

    “I suppose it’s an occupational hazard. Besides, I only knew him for a few days.”

    “Forget Martin,” interrupts our driver, “this ride is going up in flames. I see a river up ahead; we’ll jump in it before we all burn to death or get caught by the soldiers.”

    “But we don’t have the weapon yet!” Robyn objects.

    “We’ll die or be imprisoned if we don’t get out of the wagon fast!”

    “We’ll die or be tortured if we don’t get that weapon!”

    “Well I’m jumping anyway.” As our cart passes over a bridge, I jump into the rushing river. A few seconds later, I hear another splash, presumably from Gev.

    “Oh, fine. Might as well delay our fate for a few more days.” Robyn jumps in to the river as well, and the current soon sweeps us far away from the guards and a person I thought I’d never see again.

    - - -
    [Go to Page 24]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 11)
    Harrison


    “Allow me to join you!” I cry out, “I have experience fighting and will gladly join the fight against the corrupted.” The words come out of my mouth before I can think otherwise, or decide how exactly I’m going to fake my way through this.

    “Welcome!” one of the soldier says in a cheerful voice that may be faked, “Is anyone else willing to join us in facing the corrupted horde?” The tavern is as silent as I would expect.

    “Well then, we will now depart.” The five of us exit the tavern, with the patrons inside wondering if they’ll ever see us again.

    Once we’re in the sunlight and out of earshot from any citizens of Maltic, the trio of fighters begin to talk to us. “Before we get going,” says the same soldier from earlier, this time in a far harsher tone, “Let me make some things very clear. You are now temporary soldiers of Ragni’s military, and you must abide by all rules any other man would follow in our military. You are no longer some farmer who does their own thing day to day, you are part of a unit that must obey orders. Any attempts to disobey said orders, desert your post, or jeopardize the safety of your comrades is considered treason and is grounds for imprisonment. Remember, the safety of thousands is dependent on whether or not you aren’t a bumbling fool.”

    “What’s wrong, soldier?” another one of the recruiters says, looking right at me when he talks. He must notice me sweating and my nervous expression. Does he recognize me? “State your name and any problem you have.”

    “My name is… Harr…” I stop myself at the last minute.

    “Hair?”

    “No! My name is Harold… Harold Jr. My father was named Haold and so was my grandfather, so I suppose it’s a part of the family legacy, my name. Which is Harold. Also, I’m… hungry.” Which wasn’t a lie.

    “Hungry? Eh, take some bread.” He reaches into a bag and pulls out a very familiar piece of food and throws it to me.

    “Hardtack?”

    “Do you have a problem with your food choices?” another soldier asks, glaring at me.

    “Not at all. Harold Sr. used to make the best hardtack biscuits in Maltic.”

    “Alright, glad that’s settled. Now, Harold and… what’s your name?”

    “Shaun,” replies the human from the tavern.

    “Great. It’s a long walk to camp, and there will be only one rest break to eat. The undead legion will be at our position in less than a day, so we must make haste in order to join the main force.”

    I nod, and our group begins walking. Farewell Maltic, I won’t really miss you. I’m finally moving on to greater things.

    “Finally!” the enlisted human says to me as we travel, “We’re getting a chance to serve the province. I’ve waited my entire life for this, and I will gladly sacrifice it so Wynn can live another day.”

    “That’s a bit dramatic. Personally, I’m not interested in dying, it’s something I’d consider avoiding on the battlefield.”

    “Well listen,” he replies, making sure the soldiers are walking several meters ahead of us, “Can you keep a secret?”

    “Sure.” I’m already keeping one, and I feel like two wouldn’t be too hard.

    “I’m no good at fighting. Yes, I know what you think. I’m a disgrace to the lands of Ragni and a bigger sack of shit than you’d eve dream of...”

    “Calm down, calm down!” This guy’s harder on himself than I’ll ever be.

    “I tried joining the army five times. Each time I got kicked out because I’m weak or whatever, even though I have more devotion then half those vermin who call themselves knights. My dream is to save this province and make it the greatest power in the world.”

    “Well, personally I’m in it to be a hero, like Bob. You know who Bob is, right?”

    “Bob? You mean the traitor himself? The coward who ABANDONED our province and left it out to rot? Ever heard about that incident with the cow? That bastard we call a king tried to hide it from the public, and…”

    Oh Bovine, or whatever god is out there; please let these next few hours go by faster, or at least quietly…

    TO BE CONTINUED
    -
    (From Page 16)
    Rilue


    In less than a day my life has burned to the ground. I thought losing my money was bad, but this? This is a nightmare come to life.

    Almuj’s prison is a lot smaller than I expected, considering how famous the city is for crime. I guess all the captured bandits get sent straight to the gallows. Still though, it is an intimidating sandstone structure, with plenty of guards and prisoners. As soon as I enter a mage scans me, making sure that I don’t have any pins or lockpicks hidden on me. They find nothing. I don’t know if that makes me a good citizen or a bad criminal.

    Afterwards, I’m sent to my cell, which is one of many located in a large room. Each cell fits two people, but doesn’t have nearly enough space for them to be comfortable. Most prisoners lay in bed or pace around, others gaze at the guards and I but don’t say anything. I wonder how many other petty thieves like myself they see arrive here, likely to never return.

    “This is your cell,” one of the guards tells me after we stop walking. “There will be two meals given to you each day. Any attempt to escape will lead to punishment.” He unlocks the door and gestures for me to go inside. I’m willing to oblige given the sword at his belt. As soon as I step in the slams the door beside me, locking me inside.

    The cell is dark, with only one barred window looking out into the dimly lit room that holds all the prisoners. It’s also small, with only a small toilet, two beds and… is someone else in here?

    “Welcome to the prison,” my cellmate jests. She’s a young woman, likely only a bit older than me. She speaks with a smile, yet her eyes suggest a hopelessness I’ve seen too many times back in the slums. “What are you in for?”

    “I stole a necklace.” As I talk, the fear in me spreads. This has to be a bad dream. Maybe if I lay in one of those bunk beds and went to sleep, I would wake up in the slums.

    “I stole a magic potion. I drank to hide the evidence, and then tried to fight the guards who cornered me. I didn’t hurt any of them bad, or else I’d be hanging in the gallows right now!” She gives a half-hearted chuckle. How in Wynn can she joke about this?

    I glance around, making sure that no guards are nearby before I ask her a question. “Have you ever thought about escaping from here?”

    “At first I did,” she answers. “But then it became clear that I’m not escaping. There’s no hope and no light in these dungeons. You aren’t getting out, and no one is coming to free you either.”

    “Shut up.”

    I lay down on one of the bunk beds. It may be old, but it’s no less comfortable than the bedroll I sleep on. And that’s great, because I need to rest. I need to calm down, and not listen to some prisoner scream about the end of the world.

    My cellmate is wrong about one thing: I am escaping. She doesn’t know that I know magic. The guard don’t seem to have made any accommodations for my magic. Sure, I’m missing my staff. But skilled mages don’t need a wand to preform feats of the arcane. I suppose I don’t either.

    Hope begins to flutter inside me. There’s a chance, a tiny chance that I could get out of here. Magic is worth a try. I’d rather get caught than spend ten years of my life stuck here.

    “Well,” I begin. “If no one’s coming to free us, then I guess it’s up to me.”

    “Hilarious. And how are you getting us out, exactly? Will you pick the lock with your fingernail and then waltz out?”

    “No. I’m using magic.”

    “That’s even more insane. If you had good enough magic to break out of here, then you probably would be skilled enough to not get caught in the first place.”

    “Well, I’m not skilled yet. But practice makes perfect, and I remember some magic from a book I had. Do you mind if you stand aside? I need to practice.”

    I move away from the bars of the cell, not wanting any of the guards to figure out what I’m doing. However, it quickly becomes apparent that I don’t know what I’m doing. Some spells, like summoning can be done simply by muttering incantations and waving around your hands. Others, like healing, causing an earthquake, and teleportation, require a staff or wand unless you’re an extremely powerful mage.

    “Hah, I knew it!” my cellmate says after I spend a minute staring at the wall, “You don’t know any magic, do you!”

    “I know magic,” I respond, not wanting to point out that I’ve only learned two different spells, “I just need to get my staff back to cast them.”

    “Good luck with that.”

    Even though magic won’t work, I refuse to give up. I’m not spending the rest of my life in a moldy prison, and I’m dedicating every minute to getting out.

    “I guess I’ll have to change tactics. Did you ever hear those old stories… uh … whatever your name is?”

    “Liv Zetea,” she replies, “And you are?”

    “I’m Rilue.” I don’t bother saying my surname, as far as I know no one else in my immediate or extended family has lived inside Almuj for years.

    “Whatever you’re going to suggest, you had better not try it.”

    “Why?” Liv’s stubbornness is really beginning to irritate me.

    “Because when the guards inevitably catch you, they’ll suspect that I was involved. And then I’ll be sent to the gallows for a crime I didn’t commit. So please, don’t try to escape.”

    There’s no way I’m following the request of someone I’ve known for less than an hour. One way or another I’m breaking out of here. Liv is just a small problem I’ll have to deal with.

    - - -
    Attempt to befriend Liv so you can both escape. [Page 53]
    - - -
    Ignore Liv, and focus on getting yourself out of jail. [Page 54]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 21)
    Olivia


    Out of all the ways we could have escaped from the guards, swimming in a freezing river was one of the more unpleasant ones. My clothes are completely soaked too. At least we had managed to get far from our pursuers, but did that really matter? We had completely failed our missions, and now we were sitting behind a gnarled old tree, hoping the guards don’t track us down. For the first time in my career I had been discovered and put at risk of being a wanted woman.

    “Anyone have a plan for what we do next?” I say, breaking the silence, “Personally I think Almuj would be a good place to go. Lots of outlaws there according to what I’ve heard tell.”

    “Olivia, or Eleanora… whatever your real name is.”

    “It’s Olivia, Gev.”

    “Then why were you called Eleanora by that one person? Is it some nickname given to you by someone you worked with before?”

    “That was my sister, alright? Turns out they’re the complete opposite of me: the stoic knight to the shadowy marauder. Now what were you going to ask me?”

    “Do you know who exactly we’re working for?”

    “Of course not! You kept that secret from me and Martin for — “

    “The Wyrrm, we’re working for The Wyrrm.” answers Robyn, who had been silent up until now. I hadn’t seen her shocked like in all the short time I’ve known her.

    “That’s funny. Can you… you can’t be serious?” Out of everyone that we could have made an enemy of, the person Robyn spoke of is by far the worst.

    I don’t remember when I first heard about them, it might have been around the time when I became a freelance assassin last year. The baron of Elkurn received a letter one day from someone who referred to themselves as The Wyrrm, asking for a modest sum of money. The baron refused, and he and his family were found dead and floating in Ragni’s moat a week later.

    From that point on the Wyrrm became a topic of conversation among criminal circles. I figured out that he had recruited multiple groups from small jobs, such as the one I took tonight. Due to this, no one had actually managed to track down the Wyrrm, or figure out who he actually was. All the hiring was done through servants of his or something. Just like the government of Wynn that’s working tirelessly to catch them, I’m in the dark about who exactly they are. But now I might finally have an answer.

    “Let me explain,” Gev says, “A week ago, Robyn and I were offered to meet with some guy, and we didn’t know who they were at the time so we accepted. That guy turned out to be one of The Wyrrm’s high-ranking officers or something. Called himself the Acolyte. I wanted to get out of there right when I found out.”

    “But obviously you stayed. Why?”

    “Because… because…”

    “Ignore Gev,” Robyn blurts out, “He’s not the best at explaining things. So the Wyrrm’s minion offered us a so-called “Elixir of Immortality” in exchange for bringing him a weapon from the Nonest family. That elixir… I don’t know if my eyes were deceiving me, but it appeared to give you immunity to everything. The Acolyte drank a poison that would kill you in minutes, and then he drank that healing water and he turned out fine. He said it came from someplace called the Fountain of Youth, and he’d give us ten bottles of the stuff if we did his job.”

    “Looks like you couldn’t resist immortality,” I mutter, “What were you thinking!”

    “What we were thinking was that this would be an easy job. But let’s face it: We’re in trouble now. What do we do?”

    “What do we do?” I respond, “You can count me out of this, as far as this Wyrrm or their servants are concerned I’m not involved in the job. Judging by how you’ve acted this past week I doubt you’ll mind if I’m gone.”

    “Absolutely not,” scolds Robyn, “You abandon us now and I’m telling the Acolyte that you sabotaged us, and then I’ll sit back and watch as you’re hunted across the three provinces. No, you’re coming with us. We hired you for this job and the job isn’t done yet.”

    I guess there’s no way more to wriggle my way out of this one. “Fine, I’ll come with you on one condition; you explain exactly what our next move is.

    “We go find the acolyte and explain all this to him. He tries to kill us, then we kill him.”

    “You expect us to find the servant of the greatest criminal in the realm and kill them? What do you think we have, a magic spell that instantly kills people?”

    “Uh,” explains Gev, “There’s three of us and one of him?”

    “You honestly think there won’t be guards lying in the shadows? We aren’t assassinating some mogul sleeping in his bedroom, this is an experienced criminal.”

    “Whether you like it or not,” states Robyn, “It’s the only plan we have. Let’s get up, we’ll want to reach Detlas before it’s too bright out.”

    “The Acolyte is in Detlas?” I ask.

    “Yes.”

    “You mean the city that’s likely to be filled with guards?” I ask, “Guards that will soon hear about a bandit attack on the nearby roads?”

    “Do you expect this to be easy? You’re an assassin, you should know better by now.”

    TO BE CONTINUED
    -
    (From Page 15)
    Olivia


    “Gev!” I call out, “I think someone’s watching us.”

    “I heard that voice too,” he replies, “Hurry up with your searching, I have a bad feeling that something’s going to go wrong if we don’t finish the job fast.”

    Time to make haste. I glance around the wagon, hoping to find some clue as to where this weapon is. Unlike the box that contained a small fortune, none of the other containers are sealed with a lock. That leaves me with having to resort to hope.

    I pry open another crate, which is essentially filled with junk. The next box I open has nothing more than old fruit, and I’m getting infuriated at this situation.

    “Hurry up!” Gev yells, “There are reinforcements coming. If you don’t get the weapon before the minute’s up, we’ll be good as dead!”

    “Don’t rush me!” I yell. I move to close the lid to this crate, but then I notice something buried under the food. Something wooden.

    As I reach into the contents of crate I can’t believe my luck. I’ve found a staff, and it seems old enough to be the correct one. I hear the sounds of fighting outside, so I suppose I’ll see just how powerful it is.

    “Are you ignoring me Eleanora?”

    I turn around to see an armored woman standing right outside the wagon. There’s something extremely familiar about them, but I don’t pause to wonder what that is. Instead, I point the staff towards them and try to cast what should be a basic fireball spell.

    And then everything goes wrong.

    Rather than fire, a beam of lightning and energy shoots from my wand. The woman jumps aside just in time as the staff tears through the wagon in front of me.

    “Stop her!” someone else shouts, “Kill the witch!”

    Unsure of what to do, I point the staff at the ground and watch as it slowly vaporizes the earth. What’s going on! I don’t know how to stop this magic, or halt the pain that begins to course through me.

    “Cease your magic, criminal!” Reinforcements are here now, and one of them attempts to swing their sword towards my arm. Out of instinct I turn and the staff’s magic courses towards their armor. My expression quickly turns to shock as energy slowly melts through both the guard’s armor and his flesh. “Retreat!” his comrade shouts, quickly changing his original plan, “Retreat!”

    At this point, I notice cracks starting to appear in the staff. This could be my chance to free myself from this accursed magic! With all my might I go and snap it in two, causing a blast of scalding light to be released. I’m thrown backwards into the piles of crates, and everything fades to dark.

    - - -
    Go to [Page 26]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 25)
    Olivia


    “Remind me, why did we bother saving her?”

    I’ve woken up to the sound of criticism. I’m lying in some cave, my entire body aches and stings, and it’s hard to hear even my own voice. But my memory still works well, and I remembered that Robyn brought some healing scrolls with her. Why couldn’t she have used them on me?

    “Good morning,” Gev says, “You’ve been out for an hour or so. Let me fill you in on what happened since the incident.”

    “By incident, we mean what happened after you broke the very object we were looking for, simply because you had to use some almighty magic powers that you knew nothing instead of stabbing someone.”

    I glare at Robyn, who’s been remarkably bitter this past minute. “I panicked, okay? There was this woman, and there was something strange about her, and I planned on using a simple spell to fight them. But this staff… there’s something wrong with it! I’ve never seen anything like it in my life.”

    “Well you don’t need to worry now, because you broke it!” Gev reaches into his bag and pulls out the staff, now fractured in two. “Holy Bovine, everything went wrong tonight…”

    It’s at this moment when I realize that the remaining member of our party is absent. “Where’s Martin?” I ask.

    “He’s dead.”

    “Oh.” I’m not sure what to say. I didn’t know Martin that well, and dwelling on someone’s death is something I’ve never done before.

    “To tell the truth, we didn’t know him that well either. He was hired for the job a day before you were.”

    For a moment we just sit in silence, trying to take in everything that happened. Not long ago I was expecting an easy job, one where I’d get in, kill whoever got in my way, and get out far richer than I did earlier. Instead I screwed up completely.

    “Can’t we explain to whomever hired us that we failed?”

    “No,” explains Gev, “You don’t understand who we’re dealing with here.”

    “Who is it? It’s been a week since you hired me and I still don’t know who’s at the top of this ladder.”

    “The Wyrrm.” Answers Robyn.

    “That’s funny. Can you… you can’t be serious?” As she nods I feel what vigor I have left in me drain away. Out of everyone that we could have made an enemy of, The Wyrrm is by far the worst.

    I don’t remember when I first heard about them, it might have been around the time when I became a freelance assassin last year. The baron of Elkurn received a letter one day from someone who referred to themselves as The Wyrrm, asking for a modest sum of money. The baron refused, and he and his family were found dead and floating in Ragni’s moat a week later.

    From that point on the Wyrrm became a topic of conversation among criminal circles. I figured out that he had recruited multiple groups from small jobs, such as the one I took tonight. Due to this, no one had actually managed to track down the Wyrrm, or figure out who he actually was. All the hiring was done through servants of his or something. Just like the government of Wynn that’s working tirelessly to catch them, I’m in the dark about who exactly the they are. But now I might finally have an answer.

    “Let me explain,” Gev says, “A week ago, Robyn and I were offered to meet with some guy, and we didn’t know who they were at the time so we accepted. That guy turned out to be one of The Wyrrm’s high-ranking officers or something. Called himself the Acolyte. I wanted to get out of there right when I found out.”

    “But obviously you stayed. Why?”

    “Because… because…”

    “Ignore Gev,” Robyn blurts out, “He’s not the best at explaining things. So the Wyrrm’s minion offered us a so-called “Elixir of Immortality” in exchange for bringing him a weapon from the Nonest family. That elixir… I don’t know if my eyes were deceiving me, but it appeared to give you immunity to everything. The Acolyte drank a poison that would kill you in minutes, and then he drank that healing water and he turned out fine. He said it came from someplace called the Fountain of Youth, and he’d give us ten bottles of the stuff if we did his job.”

    “Looks like you couldn’t resist immortality. I can’t blame you, although personally I’d get bored after a hundred or so years.”

    “This isn’t funny,” Gev says to me, “We’re in trouble now. What do we do?”

    “What do we do?” I respond, “You can count me out of this, as far as The Wyrrm or their servants are concerned I’m not involved in the job. Judging by how you’ve acted this past week I doubt you’ll mind if I’m gone.”

    “Absolutely not,” scolds Robyn, “You abandon us now and I’m telling the Acolyte that you sabotaged us, and then I’ll sit back and watch as you’re hunted across the three provinces. No, you’re coming with us, given that if it wasn’t your fault we’d have an undamaged weapon.”

    Well shit. I guess there’s no way more to wriggle my way out of this one. “Fine, I’ll come with you on one condition; you use one of those scrolls we brought on me. Besides, do we even have a plan? You know what happened to the Nivlan Huntress and the Southern Thieves; they had a ten-thousand emerald bounty placed on them by The Wyrrm. Found dead before the month was over. It’s only a matter of time before something’s placed on us.”

    “Well,” Robyn explains as she reaches into her bag, “When we found your unconscious body, we also found the fragments of the staff.” In addition to the healing scrolls, she also pulls out several splintered sticks. “It’s in far better condition than I expected. Our only hope now is The Acolyte will accept our gift and repair the weapon on his own.”

    “Sounds like a plan. Speaking of which, where even is this “Acolyte” anyway?”

    “Detlas.”

    “You mean the city that’s likely to be filled with guards?” I ask, “Guards that will soon hear about a bandit attack on the nearby roads?”

    “Do you expect this to be easy? You’re an assassin, you should know better by now.”

    TO BE CONTINUED
    -
    (From Page 11)
    Harrison


    “Listen, I don’t think your farm problem is that big of a deal but I’ll gladly take it over being killed.”

    “You made the right choice.”

    “Anyone?” the guard calls out one last time, “Anyone willing to serve their province?” As he glances around I make sure to not rise from my chair.

    “Well then, we will now depart.” The three of them and the temporary recruit exit the tavern, and I’m not sure if I’ll see any of them again if this elderly farmer is anyone to go off of.

    “Now that those loud men are gone, it is time for us to get going,” he says, “Just like how those men are going far away, we must also travel to my farm.”

    “And how far away is that?” I ask.

    “I don’t know. Usually I take a wagon here because my legs aren’t as good as they used to be. I’d estimate that it will take an hour?”

    ~ ~ ~​

    The more we travel, the more I feel like I need to help this man. Despite presumably fighting the undead in earlier years, he isn’t in the best of shape. I suppose that’s natural considering he must be in his seventies. Throughout our walk we keep an eye out for the undead. Wynn’s countryside is a beautiful place, but there’s danger everywhere. In all honesty, I’ve never actually fought one of the corrupted before, but I was confident that I could best them in a fight.

    Eventually, we reach the farmhouse. I don’t know if it’s been a whole hour, time doesn’t matter much as long as it remains day or night. “Welcome to my home,” my travelling companion says, “Like it?”

    He lives in a simple rustic house; the type I’ve seen off in the distance on my daily trips to and from Maltic. “Let me show you around, kid.”

    He leads me around to the back of his house, where a few rows of crops are beginning to almost done growing. “I had some berries growing here too, but they got taken in the night. And my chickens…” he points to a large coop sitting near the crops, “Luckily no one’s tried to steal them yet.”

    “Ae you sure? I mean, if there really is a thief, I feel like they’d be stealing chickens rather than some fruit.”

    “Well, I’m not going to bother counting my chickens. That would take too long. Either way, since you’re here you might as well guard this place.”

    “Okay,” I respond, “And what will you be doing?”

    “I’ll be staying inside. I’m much too old to be caught in the action.”

    “Alright I guess?” This will be a lonely few hours. Looking back, I probably should have charged him for hiring me.

    I didn’t expect anyone to commit some farm robbery during the day, and I was correct. From my hidden spot among the cornstalks, I spot no suspicious men, undead, or any animals. In fact, the only thief here seems to be me: at one point I stole a few dozen berries from a bush. The old man who never told me his name comes out of his home to check on me every once in a while, and I tell him that absolutely nothing has happened.

    In fact, it seems like nothing is going to happen all day. The sun is setting and I ought to be returning to the nomad’s camp, but that’s when I notice someone. They’re a figure dressed in all black walking down a distant road; with what appears to be a staff in their hands. Could this be rabble-rouser I’m waiting for? I might as well check it out. After all, no normal person just walks down the street looking like they’ll take your soul.

    “Barney, I think there’s someone here!”

    I turn around to see two men standing near the chicken coop, and they’re men I recognize. I’ve seen Dreken and Barney at the nomad’s camp numerous times, and the strike me as the exact people who would take chickens from an old man.

    “Harrison, my lad!” Dreken says in a phoney cheerful voice, “Didn’t expect to see you out there in the wilderness.”

    “I could say the same about you.”

    “Listen here, do you want to fend for yourself out there?” spits Dreken, “Sometimes you need to steal in order to survive. You focus on being a hero this much and you’ll just get stabbed in the back. Now, let’s return back to camp with a nice meal and we’ll all be friends, deal?”

    TO BE CONTINUED
    -
    (From Page 19)
    Rilue


    “Your whole lives you have known only part of your own province’s history. Let me guess, most of you consider it a land of danger, the land where corruption holds you in its grip?”

    Vade’s description may be overdramatic, but it’s true. The corruption made Wynn what it is.

    “Look around!” continues Vade. “Buried in the desert, and all around the province, are relics of the past just waiting to be uncovered. Who knows what secrets will be found! Now I have an offer for you all: join us in excavating an ancient temple in this desert. We need more workers, and if you help us we will provide you with protection, water, food, and money. No longer will you have to rely on the charity store to get what you need. Join us, and we will work towards a brighter future for the province.”

    This statement caused quite the reaction. Apart from charity, food was hard to get without money, and that’s what Ormrod offered.

    “You want me to join?” an older human exclaims. “Then I’ll join! I have lost faith in Almuj, and here you come giving us a chance. Take me to your excavation site.”

    He’s met with cheering, and Vade can’t seem to help be smile.

    “Welcome to Wynn-Excavation. We’re about to set off back to our site, anyone who chooses to join us is free to, and you will receive everything I’ve talked about.”

    The caravan of villagers turns around to head into the desert, and a sizeable group of men from the slums join him.

    “Rilue, please don’t go with them! You’re young and still have a future ahead of you. I know what will happen if you join them. Gavel won’t care if your blood is in the sands.”

    Nick is standing behind me. He’s a strange man, but also considered one of the leaders of our part of Almuj. I won’t deny that Wynn-Excavation sounds like it would help me. After all, I finally would have a job, a source of income, a way to survive.

    - - -
    If you choose to remain in Almuj, go to [Page 35]
    - - -
    If you choose to join Wynn-Excavation, go to [Page 36]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 11)
    Harrison


    “Thank you for that advise on the whole military thing,” I say, “But I’m not going to help you out. I have more important things to do.”

    “What do you mean important? As far as I can tell you’re unemployed!”

    “Woah there! Don’t go accusing me of things. Yes, I am unemployed, but that doesn’t matter. My issue with your request is that I’m not going to walk to some faraway farm just to kill a few rodents stealing your food.”

    “What kind of a wannabe hero are you?” he says, his voice rising above any other conversation in the tavern.

    “One who doesn’t to menial tasks!”

    “Soldiers, says a very familiar voice out of nowhere, “Can you escort this young man out of my tavern? I think he’s caused enough trouble here.”

    “Hey, Boris. I’m sorry for the things I said earlier, but I feel like you’re overreacting. I haven’t done anything wrong… lower the spears guards! I said I did nothing wrong!”

    TO BE CONTINUED
    -
    COMING SOON
    -
    COMING SOON
    -
    COMING SOON
    -
    (From Page 14)
    Rilue


    “No, I won’t trade you the necklace. I need money, not a book. Maybe when I’m financially secure we can make a deal, but that moment is far away.”

    The villager is not pleased. He glares at me, and then returns the book to his alcove.

    “There’s another way out of here,” he says when he comes back. “Just take the left passage and follow it until you reach the exit. You’ll come out somewhere in the streets, so make sure you aren’t caught.”
    “Thank you,” I tell him as I leave, “for saving me from the guards.”

    He doesn’t respond, but he does pull a level on the side of a wall, opening up a doorway for me. Light floods the black market, and I can hear voices in the distance. I step outside, book in my hand.

    There are only a few hours of sun left when I return to the slums. There are guards posted throughout Almuj, and I had to take several detours to avoid them. It’s all worth it though. I’m rich! Well, rich enough. Tomorrow, I’ll journey through the desert to get to Ternaves, where no one is hunting for me and can earn a few emeralds blocks. For now, though, it’s time to rest. The future is ahead, but I can wait a few more hours.

    ~ ~ ~​

    I wake up to the sound of yelling. Not the type of yelling when two merchants argue, but the shouting that causes you to flinch, that tells you that a fight is about to begin.

    “Go away! I’m not who you’re looking for!”

    I’m still tired, as I usually am when I’m woken early. But something feels urgent. I can sense it.

    “She’s over there!”

    I recognize that voice. It belongs to a younger woman from the slums, and I don’t know who she’s talking to.

    “Freeze!”

    Two guards are heading in my general direction. Oh great Bovine, how did I not think the guards would look for me here? I lift my bedroll up, revealing the necklace I hid below. If I want to avoid the guards, I need to get going now. My plan is to head west until I reach Almuj’s massive wall, which I’ll follow until I reach its edge.

    Unfortunately, that seems unlikely. A guard on horseback appears from the west, riding towards my vicinity and blocking my planned escape route. The only unguarded exit is the southeast, which would take me into the dunes. The guards would never follow me there. They would expect the desert to swallow me up, for me to become one of the many travelers who thought they wouldn’t be bitten by a rattlesnake.

    Maybe if I went west and made a break for it? I still have my wand. It saved me before and it could save me again.

    - - -
    If you decide to teleport past the guards and into the west, go to [Page 40]
    - - -
    If you decide to escape into the southeast desert, go to [Page 41]
    - - -
     
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2019
  13. Theeef

    Theeef Lurker of the Abyss HERO

    Messages:
    1,929
    Likes Received:
    1,281
    Trophy Points:
    117
    Minecraft:
    Wow this is a lot longer. I like the path for Rinue from stealing the necklace. Although there is one thing I’d like to point out.

    Edit: I read the remaining Rinue dialogues and absolutely loved them. Still though, the stealing food path is rather short, and I see why you didn’t combine 19 and 20
     
    Last edited: Jul 28, 2018
    WithTheFish likes this.
  14. A Human

    A Human Definitely not an alien.

    Messages:
    1,526
    Likes Received:
    1,486
    Trophy Points:
    90
    Guild:
    Minecraft:
    Yay, time to work for the monsters kind people at WynnExcavation.
     
    Theeef and WithTheFish like this.
  15. Ragni The Planet

    Ragni The Planet The #1 aatrox otp on wynn, also founder of xsm

    Messages:
    186
    Likes Received:
    38
    Trophy Points:
    24
    Guild:
    TL;DR
    Wow this is brillant.
     
    WithTheFish likes this.
  16. WithTheFish

    WithTheFish voted most likely to make a deal with demons Staff Member Moderator HERO

    Messages:
    3,636
    Likes Received:
    7,153
    Trophy Points:
    217
    Minecraft:
    An update for my extremely massive and dedicated fanbase: I'll be away from my computer next saturday, so no update then. There will be one the week after though, I promise!

    Anyway, as far as content goes, I've made a list of all the characters in the lore right now. I've seen other stories on here do that, so why not do it too? After all, there will probably be a lot of different characters in the end.

    Key:
    [] - Appears in Esdel's Storylines
    [] - Appears in Harrison's Storylines
    [] - Appears in Olivia's Storylines
    [] - Appears in Rilue's Storylines

    All date-related references refer to the start of the story.

    -----------------

    [] Anna - Olivia's sister, whom she does not get along well with. She is devoted to keeping the peace in Wynn and is on track to become one of the province's knights.

    [] Avery - Formerly one of Almuj's soldiers, she now dedicates her time to helping the needy.

    [][] Bob - The legendary hero of Wynn. He went missing sixteen years ago, but is still revered due to his fights against the corrupted armies.

    [] Boris - The owner of Maltic's tavern for the past few decades.

    [] Ceilo - Esdel's younger brother. At nine years old he's just an ordinary kid who looks up to his older sibling.

    [] Dreken - A proud nomad who's willing to do immoral things in order to survive.

    [] Elder Oroak - One of the oldest residents of Nivla Village and the de facto leader of the town. Has been on many adventures and is glad to tell people about most of them.

    [] Gev - Robyn's accomplice. Despite his experience he's always a bit wary about the potential consequences of his work.

    [] Lannor - Has gone on many adventures in Nivla Woods with Esdel, his best friend. They've known each other for seventeen years, but slowly their aspirations have become less and less alike.

    [] Liv Zetea - A prisoner in Almuj's jail who has a pessimistic outlook on life.

    [] Lodrona - Rilue's aunt, who disappeared from the public five years ago. Has experience with the dark arts and is wanted by the authorities because of this.

    [] Martin - An archer and a mercenary who's hired by Robyn and Gev for a dangerous robbery.

    [] Ormrod - A banker from Gavel on a business trip to Wynn. While in the desert of Almuj he has had several misfortunes, including an encounter with a mummy.

    [] Robyn - Gev's accomplice and a natural leader. She's more than willing to leave behind or sell out anyone she doesn't know.

    [] Sayleros Nonest - A rich villager who has decided to move to Detlas from Maltic. Has many relatives as well as a brother, and he owns many old artifacts.

    [] Sebastian - A lonely boy from the desert of Almuj who sells crops from his family's farm.

    [] The Acolyte - One of the Wyrrm's officers, and does most of the recruiting for their master.

    [] The Wyrrm - A mysterious entity that few have seen. They're feared around the province of Wynn for supposed instigating multiple murders and acts of terrorism.

    [] Vade - A high-ranking member of the group Wynn-Excavation.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
    Eric Yang and TheGiantSpider like this.
  17. A Human

    A Human Definitely not an alien.

    Messages:
    1,526
    Likes Received:
    1,486
    Trophy Points:
    90
    Guild:
    Minecraft:
    Just wondering, could you tag me when you update the story?
     
  18. WithTheFish

    WithTheFish voted most likely to make a deal with demons Staff Member Moderator HERO

    Messages:
    3,636
    Likes Received:
    7,153
    Trophy Points:
    217
    Minecraft:
    Sure!

    (If anyone else wants to be tagged too, feel free to let me know!)
     
  19. nightbaker

    nightbaker Proud Melee Archer and DPS Guardian Player HERO

    Messages:
    615
    Likes Received:
    757
    Trophy Points:
    125
    Minecraft:
    me, this is a really well-thought out post
    keep it up
     
    WithTheFish likes this.
  20. WithTheFish

    WithTheFish voted most likely to make a deal with demons Staff Member Moderator HERO

    Messages:
    3,636
    Likes Received:
    7,153
    Trophy Points:
    217
    Minecraft:
    (From Page 14)
    Rilue


    “It’s a deal.”

    I hand him the necklace and he hands me the book. He breaks into a smile as he holds it in his hand.

    “Now, is there another way out of here?” I ask. “I don’t have any more reason to be here.”

    “Yes,” he says when he comes back. “Just take the left passage and follow it until you reach the exit. You’ll come out somewhere in the streets, so make sure you aren’t caught.”
    “Thank you,” I tell him as I leave, “for saving me from the guards.”

    “A thief always helps a fellow thief.”

    He pulls a level on the side of a wall, opening up a doorway for me. Light floods the black market, and I can hear voices in the distance.

    ~ ~ ~​

    There are only a few hours of sun left when I return to the slums. There are guards posted throughout Almuj, and I had to take several detours to avoid them.

    Still, I have enough time to read Lodrona’s texts. To anyone else, the book seems like any old tome with a leather cover. They wouldn’t suspect that it has information about the dark arts inside.

    Dark magic. Forget stealing a necklace, this sort of crime would get me in bigger trouble. Yet I need to look inside this book. Not because it can teach me magic, not because I bought it, but because my aunt wrote it.

    I was very young when my parents died. Both of them were soldiers, from what I heard. They died defending Almuj and Bremminglar from one of the largest undead attacks in decades. Since I had a living relative in Lodrona, the government sent me to be with her. To me, she became my mother. She would tuck me in at night and read me tales of the provinces. On the last day of the week, she would take me to the market and show me all the wonders this world had to sell.

    She was also a teacher. Every day, we would have lessons on writing and arithmetic, and lessons on the foul history of hour province. Later on, I learned how to cook and have good manners. It was at this time where she started leaving Almuj for extended periods of time. She never talked about where she went off to, but I didn’t mind that. What I did care about was that she spent more time in isolation, more time without me. Lodrona would spend hours in our house’s library, presumably reading. From when we first met to the moment I saw her last, I was never allowed inside that room. And I did not know what she did in there for a long time.

    Now I know. Lodrona worked with the forbidden dark arts. She read and wrote about magic right her in this book. It’s time to find out the truth.

    I open up the cover. Nothing but a blank piece of parchment. I turn that page over. Here’s something, information about a spell I’ve never heard of before.


    Fleris’ Wrath


    Normally, fire magic is channeled in shooting a fireblast at your opponent, or conjuring a meteor. This method of fire is a lot more dangerous than the others. It can be considered a far stronger version of the basic fireblast. Point your staff or wand at the enemy (attempting to cast the spell without a magical weapon has never been successfully done and may lead to severe burns) …


    All of the pages I read are like this. They describe a complex spell, and at the bottom of each page Lodrona wrote a few notes to herself: “Forbidden at any magical tournament”, “Not cast since 987P, where it was used to decimate a village.” There’s nothing in here about Lodrona’s personal life, her journeys, or me. I do notice one think as I read: all the spells are unbelievably advanced.

    As the type of person who prefers to stay out of the fight, I’ve never had any reason to learn aggressive spells. In the end though, I suppose I might need to. Magic is just another form of fighting in the world. I hide my new spellbook under my bedroll, burying it in the sand and grabbing my normal spellbook. I doubt that anyone would want to look at some old tome, but you can’t be sure out here.

    It only takes me a few minutes of wandering before I find a large spider crawling through the sand. It isn’t as large as the Gavellian spiders Lodrona once told me about, or the arachnids that live in Nivla Woods, but it’s still the size of a small cat. I hastily open up my book of basic spells, hoping that the spider doesn’t notice me.


    Offensive Air Magic


    The simplest of five forms of elemental magic, but many scholars consider it to be the least powerful. Wind is simply less destructive than fire or lighting in small quantities. To channel air into an attack, swing your wand or staff in the direction the wind is blowing, similar to how you would swing a sword…


    Seems easy enough. I hold my staff with both hands, and concentrate on the wind blowing around grains of sand, and swing. Something seems to come out of my staff, almost like a beam of smoke. Did it work? I’ll have to test it on the spider.

    I walk closer to the creature. This probably isn’t a good idea. The spiders here can eat small children, and approaching one without a proper weapon isn’t a good idea. Time to find out if my staff counts as proper. I step around the spider until the wind blows forward, and then I attack. I feel something, a small gust of wind, but it isn’t the attack I witnessed earlier.

    “That’s not what I expected.” The spider turns around, ready to defend its territory or eat me, I’m not sure which. But I am in trouble. I attack again, making sure my magic is in tune with the wind. Nothing happens, and the spider doesn’t look the least bit fazed as it stalks towards me. “Stay calm, Rilue,” I tell myself. I concentrate, pretending that the spider isn’t there as I attack again. This time something happens. The beam of smoke is back, and the spider reacts to it. It staggers backwards, and I attack again. Success! It begins to dig into the sand in an attempt to retreat. As soon as it makes its escape I run back towards the slums, filled with pride by advancing in magic.

    - - -
    Go to [Page 39]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 28)
    Rilue


    Maybe Nick is right. I’ve never seen this group of supposed excavators before, so why should I follow them into the desert?

    I watch as Wynn-Excavation goes away, their group appearing to have doubled in size. Hopefully the Almujians won’t get themselves hurt out there.

    Anyway, they’re gone now. I can rest, it has been a longer day than usual. I’m just about to lay on my bedroll when I see someone familiar in the distance.

    It’s the boy I saw in the market, the one who gave me the fruit. What’s he doing here? Did he change his mind about giving me free food?

    “You!” he shouts at a distance. “You’re the girl I saw at the market, right?”

    I’m not sure what to do. Should I reveal myself? Should I stay where I am? My choice doesn’t really matter, since he’s walking towards me.

    “I’m sorry, but I ate the food.” I retort, “I can’t give you your money back, alright?”

    “It isn’t about the money. I need your help.”

    I’m surprised. “Me? Why would you need my help?”

    “You’re a mage and you seem to take big risks. I’m looking for someone like that.”

    By big risks he must be referring to how I tried to steal his food. But a mage? “I’m no mage,” I tell him.

    “You hold a magic staff. I’m assuming you have some magic abilities.”

    “Sure, I have magic. But you haven’t even told me what you need with.”

    “It… it’s something not exactly…” he leans in and begins to whisper, “…legal.”

    “Huh.”

    “Come with to my farm. I’ll tell you about it there.”

    “Your farm?” What is this! I’m not going out into the desert with some stranger, no one does that. For all I know, he’s a bandit trying to rob me of what little I have.

    “Please,” the boy begs, “Come with me, you can trust me. I’ll even give you my dagger, so there’s no way I could attack you out there.”

    - - -
    If you decide to remain in Almuj, go to [Page 42]
    - - -
    If you decide to go with the merchant boy, go to [Page 43]
    - - -
    -
    Rilue


    The excavation site is more impressive than I expected. Humans and Villagers gather around a pit of sandstone, mining away in the hope that they’ll discover something. It seems they’ve already made good progress; I see the ruins of multiple pillar-like structures. Massive wooden cranes have been constructed, right now one of them hauls up a large crate to an area filled with many tents.

    “Your work doesn’t begin until tomorrow,” Vade tells us. “Take some time to familiarize yourself with the area. Before you do that though, I have a few rules. Breaking them will be met with punishment.”

    When we’re all at Vade’s attention, he begins to stroll back and forth, speaking to us as a group. “Any relics or artifacts discovered are property of Wynn-Excavation, and must be presented to us. No one is allowed near the tents, they are for Wynn-Excavation members only. Do not attempt to steal anything from a Wynn-Excavation member or another miner.” He goes on for a while, talking about the utmost authority Wynn-Excavation has in the desert.

    “Water will be passed around every hour, and there will be a food break at midday…” As he speaks another villager comes over to our group, passing around pickaxes or shovels to everyone in our group. The pickaxe I get is surprisingly heavy, with its hilt somewhat fractured. I’m beginning to wonder if I made the right choice coming here. Hard work like this has never been my strong suit.

    “That is all. Now get to work!” The newcomers spread out, most of them heading to the deeper part of the site.

    With no direct orders other than to smash rocks, I move a few feet away from where I stand and begin to dig into the ground. I lift my pickaxe up, and then swing it down, leaving a small crack in the earth.

    “Hey, what do you think you’re doing!”

    A muscular man with a scimitar and knife at his waist stomps over to me. “Did I do something wrong?” I ask him.

    “We’re excavating over there,” he says, pointing to where my fellow Almujians went. “You’re just senselessly smashing the ground with your pickaxe. This is the walkway to the lower part of the site, you know!”

    “I’m sorry, I just arrived here.”

    “An excuse from a moron! Why don’t you run home to your mom, little girl? Men are at work here?”

    I’m about to say some dumb comment at what he said, but I become distracted by a tattoo on this guard’s arm. It’s a jackal, a dog native to the desert, marked in orange ink. I’ve seen this tattoo before, and never on anyone pleasant. It’s the emblem of the Creden Tibus, a group of bandits with numbers in the hundreds. How did one of them end up as my superior here?

    “What are you looking at?” He starts to reach for the knife at his belt. I panic, thinking of a way out of this situation. And then I spot it.

    “That guy over there, is trying to escape?” Farther away, near the entrance to the camp, I see a figure hastily mounting a horse.

    “Are you…” To my luck, the guard turns around and see the man also. “Men! Someone’s getting away!” He and a few other guards run up the slope to try and catch the escapee, but they don’t make it in time. One of the guards, who’s dressed in what appears to be an ornate robe, mounts a horse and takes off after them.

    “Did you see that?” I whisper to a miner as I walk downhill, “Someone just tried to escape the mines?”

    “Hush,” he whispers back, anger present in his voice. “This place isn’t an excavation site, it’s a prison. They won’t let us go until we uncover whatever Wynn-Excavation is looking for, whatever that is. It has to be some all-powerful weapon if they’re keeping the place this well-guarded.”

    A feeling of dread rises in me. Coming here was not a good idea.

    “Now get back to work, before you end up in big trouble.”

    - - -
    Go to [Page 59]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 20)
    Rilue


    Maybe Nick is right. I’ve never seen this group of supposed excavators before, so why should I follow them into the desert?

    I watch as Wynn-Excavation goes away, their group appearing to have doubled in size. Hopefully the Almujians won’t get themselves hurt out there.

    It has been a long day, and it’s time to settle down and relax. Or at least try to relax. I accomplished nothing today. I lost all the money I owned, and I don’t know how to get it back. The only way to survive in Almuj is by being optimistic, but I can’t find any hope tonight.

    The sun has only just begun to set, but I’m exhausted and ready to sleep.

    - - -
    Go to [Page 38]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 37)
    Rilue


    “Wake up!”

    It’s hard to get a good night’s rest in the slums. Someone is always arguing, or telling some campfire story. Whenever half of the place is asleep, the other half is awake. But I’ve never been woken up by someone else before. I thought only servants and slaves did that to their rich masters, or vice versa.

    Sunlight fills my eyes, but I can tell the person who woke me up is a young boy I’ve seen around the slums. “An important man wants to talk about you,” he informs. “He told me he was looking for a mage, and you’re the only one here that I’ve seen do magic.”

    “Alright alright.” I wearily answer, “Show me where he is.”

    The boy leads me to a middle-aged human wearing simple clothing. He’s constantly looking around at the slums, as if he’s never been here before in his life. I know some of the wealthier merchants haven’t.

    “Ahh, you’re the mage who lives here?” he asks me.

    “Yes, I guess?” I didn’t occur to me that I was the only magic user in this part of the city. I suppose that most mages are villagers or people from more prominent families.

    “Good,” he answers. “I am Avillo, a merchant who sells scrolls in this very city. I am looking for someone with magic abilities to become my apprentice, and help me out in my job.”

    A job offer and a chance to prove myself? I’ve been waiting for this for years!

    “If you help me, I will pay you twenty emeralds each week, and you will be provided with a place to rest and eat. The job entails that you help me manage my supply of scrolls and help me sell them. Are you up for this?”

    “Yes!” I exclaim.

    “Good. Now, follow me to the shop. You’ll need to take a test to prove that you have proficient knowledge in magic. This is an important job, and it isn’t for everyone.”

    A test? I wasn’t expecting this. I’m in big trouble, because I know next-to-nothing about topics like the history of magic or obscure spells. Panic slowly settles in me as I realize I might not end up as an apprentice.

    TO BE CONTINUED
    -
    (From Page 34)
    Rilue

    The Slums of Almuj, Early Next Morning


    “Wake up!”

    It’s hard to get a good night’s rest in the slums. Someone is always arguing, or telling some campfire story. Whenever half of the place is asleep, the other half is awake. But I’ve never been woken up by someone else before. A part of me panics. Did the guards find me? Does someone know about my book?

    Sunlight fills my eyes, but I can tell the person who woke me up is a young boy I’ve seen around the slums. “An important man wants to talk about you,” he informs. “He told me he was looking for a mage, and you’re the only one here that I’ve seen do magic.”

    “Alright alright.” I wearily answer, “Show me where he is.”

    The boy leads me to a middle-aged human wearing simple clothing. He’s constantly looking around at the slums, as if he’s never been here before in his life. I know some of the wealthier merchants haven’t.

    “Ahh, you’re the mage who lives here?” he asks me.

    “Yes, I guess?” I didn’t occur to me that I was the only magic user in this part of the city. I suppose that most mages are villagers or people from more prominent families.

    “Good,” he answers. “I am Avillo, a merchant who sells scrolls in this very city. I am looking for someone with magic abilities to become my apprentice, and help me out in my job.”

    A job offer and a chance to prove myself? I’ve been waiting for this for years!

    “If you assist me, I will pay you twenty emeralds each week, and you will be provided with a place to rest and eat. The job entails that you help me manage my supply of scrolls and help me sell them. Are you up for this?”

    “Yes!” I exclaim.

    “Good. Now, follow me to the shop. You’ll need to take a test to prove that you have proficient knowledge in magic. This is an important job, and it isn’t for everyone.”

    A test? I wasn’t expecting this. I’m in big trouble, because I know next-to-nothing about topics like the history of magic or obscure spells. Panic slowly settles in me as I realize I might not end up as an apprentice. I’ll have to at least try the test though, if I don’t join Avillo I’ll definitely not get the job.

    “Sure, I follow you,” I tell him. “Just let me get something first.”

    The shopkeeper nods and I run back to bedroll, lifting it up to find Lodrona’s book underneath.

    “What’s that?” Avillo asks me when I return.

    “A book of spells… someone important to me gave me it.” I can’t let him know that this is an illegal spellbook. If he opens the cover and reads the incantations inside, I’ll be arrested for knowledge of the darks arts. I’m additionally wary about telling him about my relationship with Lodrona. The mention of a dark sorceress could easily ruin my chances of a better life.

    TO BE CONTINUED
    -
    (From Page 33)
    Rilue


    There’s no time to say goodbye to my home. I clutch the necklace in one hand and my staff in the other, and I teleport towards the western part of the slums. One moment I’m standing next to my bedroll, the next… I crash into someone else’s tent.

    “Don’t move, mage!”

    I turn around to see an archer standing and ready to fire an arrow should I take a step. I’m not sure if he would actually shoot me just for shoplifting, but I’m not ready to find out. I drop my staff and put my hands in the air as another guard moves towards me.

    “Hand over the necklace,” he orders. I comply, rubbing my finger over its jewel one last time as I pass it on.

    “You caught her! Thank you, kind warrior!”

    I hear a familiar voice in the distance, and a few seconds later I see the same villager from the black market. What’s he doing here?

    “This is your wife’s necklace, correct?” the guard asks him. “Thank you for letting the city of Almuj know about this criminal.” He hands the necklace to the merchant.

    “Thank you,” he responds, faking gratitude. “My wife will be so pleased to have this back!” For a second, he turns his head towards me and winks.

    That snake! Why didn’t I expect something like this? The old legends about thieves and black markets were filled with betrayal. But this isn’t one of the old tales. This is real life. I’m a criminal now, and I’m being sent to jail.

    ~ ~ ~​

    Almuj’s prison is a lot smaller than I expected, considering how famous the city is for crime. I guess all the captured bandits get sent straight to the gallows. Still though, it is an intimidating sandstone structure, with plenty of guards and prisoners. As soon as I enter a mage scans me, making sure that I don’t have any pins or lockpicks hidden on me. They find nothing. I don’t know if that makes me a good citizen or a bad criminal.

    Afterwards, I’m sent to my cell, which is one of many located in a large room. Each cell fits two people, but doesn’t have nearly enough space for them to be comfortable. Most prisoners lay in bed, but others gaze as me, wondering how I ended up here. Some of them are merely petty thieves who don’t deserve this, but from what I’ve heard many prisoners are bandits who have evaded execution somehow.

    “This is your cell,” one of the guards tells me after we stop walking. “There will be two meals each day. Any attempt to escape will lead to punishment.” He unlocks the door and gestures for me to go inside. I’m willing to oblige given the sword at his belt. As soon as I step in the slams the door beside me, locking me inside.

    The cell is dark, with only one barred window looking out into the dimly lit room that holds all the prisoners. It’s also small, with only a small toilet, two beds and… is someone else in here?

    On the bottom bunk bed, a girl is in a deep sleep; she hasn’t stirred at all since I was taken here. She doesn’t look much different from me, although her hair has grown long and unkempt. Trying my best not to wake her up, I slowly climb into the top bunk. I might as well get some sleep.

    Or at the very least, try and get some sleep. My mind wanders to all the events of the day. It seems like so long ago that a total stranger stole my money. Maybe they’re in this prison right now, and while I’d love to punch their head right into this stone wall, I don’t want to be a worse person than them. Or am I already bad, for committing crimes of my own?

    - - -
    Go to [Page 55]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 33)
    Rilue


    There’s no time to lose. I pick up my staff and teleport southeast until I feel drained. Not just physically drained, but mentally drained too. The book of spells talked about this; it said that casting too many spells can harm your “Mana,” whatever that is.

    As soon I catch my breath I look behind me, checking to see if the guards have lost interest in me. They have. I should feel relieved, but I have bigger problems on my hand. It’s night and I’m in the middle of a frigid desert. If only I could conjure flames with magic like other mages could! Prison is bad, but at least it might be warmer.

    And then there’s the creatures that lurk in the desert. Spend enough time in Almuj, and you’ve learned about every monster that lives in the sand. The wraiths, the horrors, and worst of all the Dune Beasts, human-like reptilian terrors. The desert and its civilizations are an awful place.

    As time passes, it becomes clear that the temperature is my biggest worry. This cold is painful, and magic can only heal me for so long. I feel like I’m about to collapse. How did I get here? Just yesterday I was sleeping next to a fire. I never should have stolen that necklace.



    Someone’s coming.

    I hear their mount first; a horse travelling through the sands as if its life depends on it. Then I see the rider heading straight for me. At first they gallop at the fast rate, but when they see me they fortunately slow down. The rider is a villager, and he seems confused as to why I’m out here.

    “Who are you?” he asks.

    “I’m… a traveler.” I don’t want to reveal anything about myself. What if he’s working for the guards, and was sent to track me down?

    “You don’t look like a very good traveler. You’re shivering. Need someone to warm you up?”

    He gets down from his steed and begins to conjure a ball of fire in the palm of his hand. It’s small at first, but as he sets it on the ground it slowly grows into a blazing bonfire. I knew villagers were naturally adept in magic, but this? Lodrona would be impressed.

    “Thank you… whoever you are,” I tell him. “I would be dead out here if you hadn’t come to help me.”

    “No problem. I haven’t been in your province for long, but I have found that it’s still my duty to help anyone who needs aid. What happened to your people with the Corruption, I’m so sorry.”

    “Don’t be sorry. The portal opened millennium ago and there’s nothing we can do about that.” I sit down on the sands, the fire already warming me up. “Why are you out here in the desert anyway? You seemed to be in a hurry before you found me.”

    “I was scouting the area. One of my associates said they were going to scout the area. They weren’t back by sundown, so I went to find them. I searched but could find nothing, but then I saw you in the distance. I thought you were the human I was looking for, but I was mistaken.”

    “That’s nice of you to look for your friend, whoever you are.”

    “Call me Amadel.”

    “Okay, Amadel. I’m Rilue.” We pause, spending a few moments each in silence. I realize that I don’t know where to go from here.

    “Amadel,” I begin, “You mentioned that you had an associate. What exactly do the two of you work for? You don’t strike me as a bandit.”

    “I’m a member of Wynn-Excavation,” he explains. “A Gavel-based organization that seeks to uncover the ancient mysteries of your province. We have a site right here in the desert. If you want, I can take you there. Where else is there for you to go?”

    - - -
    If you decide to travel through the desert on your own, go to [Page 50]
    - - -
    If you decide to go to the Excavation Site with Amadel, go to [Page 51]
    -
    (From Page 35)
    Rilue


    “I’m sorry, but I’m not some hero for hire. I won’t help a stranger who doesn’t even tell me what he wants me to accomplish.”

    “Okay, I understand… thief.” The boy turns away from me, clearly agitated.

    “Thief! I’m not a thief, you willingly gave me your food!” He ignores my rebuke and walks away, maybe going to his home, or maybe looking for someone else to help him.

    I’m tired. Between attempted thievery and mysterious villagers, this day has been a lot more intense than what I’m used to. I spend the last few hours of daylight loitering around and listening the stories of old, and then I drift off to sleep.

    - - -
    Go to [Page 38]
    - - -
    -
    (From Page 35)
    Rilue


    “Fine,” I tell him. “I’ll go with you.”

    He breathes a sigh of relief. “Thank you. Follow me, we need to get to the caravan before it leaves.”

    He beckons me forward, guiding me to the direction of the Almuj Caravan. “I live in this city, remember?” I tell him. “You don’t need to show me around.”

    Located behind the city’s massive bank, the Almuj caravan is a group of wagons that go from Almuj to the Pezel river, and vice versa. The convoy is guarded by a group of soldiers in order to ward off bandits. Plenty of people have farms along the river, so this is probably how this merchant boy makes it to the market each day.

    There’s still room in one of the wagons, and the two of us climb inside. A few minutes later we start moving, and our journey begins. I quickly come to the realization that this is the first time I’ve ever left the city. I always dreamed that I would one day take a caravan out of the desert, but here I am now, heading inside it.

    “So, what’s your name?” The boy speaks for the first time in a while.

    “Rilue.”

    “Ah. I’m Sebastian. I’m very thankful that you could assist me.”

    “You still haven’t told me what I’m helping you with!”

    “I’m waiting until we return to my family’s farm. There are ears everywhere around me.”

    “There isn’t even anyone else in this wagon!” I exclaim. “Do you think the driver is listening? Maybe his donkeys? I heard they’re in league with the baron of Almuj!”

    “Do you always act like an idiot when talking to others?”

    “No. And you should be politer, given that I’m travelling half way across the desert.”

    He doesn’t continue this argument, and we spend the rest of the trip in silence. As we travel I gaze out at the expanse of sand. The desert is just as boring as I expected. Occasionally there’s a patch of cacti or a mound of rock, but mostly it’s just sand. An endless expanse of sand.

    And then the sand changes to grass. We’ve arrived at the Pezel River, and it’s infinitely more beautiful than the gardens in Almuj. I step out of my caravan to find trees overlooking a river that stretches as far as the eye can see. At the other side of the water I spot a farm; one of many that uses the river to irrigate its crops.

    “Welcome to better part of the desert,” Sebastian says as he exits the caravan. “From here, it’s only a half-hour walk to my family’s farm.”

    A half-hour? How long is this trip going to take? Then again, do I have anything better to do instead?

    “Here, this way. Keep an eye out for scorpions, or the undead. You know basic offense spells, correct?”

    “Uh… not really?”

    “We have some books about magic back in our house. For now, just be careful, I don’t want to be responsible for you getting hurt.”

    Our journey continues on foot. It’s nice to be walking on grass rather than grains of sand, and the trees provide much-needed shade. There are plenty of strange creatures out here, like Zebras, the horses with black and white stripes. While I take in the sights, Sebastian is constantly glancing around for any type of threat. It’s pretty unnerving.

    “We’re almost here,” Sebastian says after a long while. “I suppose it’s time I tell you why I brought you here.” Finally. “Promise you won’t tell anyone about this, okay? Promise?”

    “I promise.”

    “Thank you.” Sebastian takes a deep breath, and then exhales. For a few seconds he doesn’t speak, possibly so he can collect his thoughts.

    “I need you to help me break my sister out of prison.”

    TO BE CONTINUED
    -
    (From Page 17)
    Rilue


    “Ormrod, Rilue, wake up!”

    Sunlight has entered the cavern, and it’s time to finish our journey. Ormord doesn’t hasn’t woken up yet despite Avery’s shouting; even on hard stone ground he can catch up on lost sleep.

    After a few hours of keeping watch, I switched places with Avery in order to get some rest. It was enough, and the first few minutes of our journey will pass in a groggy haze.

    “Ormrod? We need to get moving. The sun has barely risen and this is the best time to travel.”

    “Gahh!” Ormrod suddenly jolts awake. I’m not even sure if he heard us. “The mummy… I could see it! Sallow skins covered by bandages, locusts crawling out of its flesh… it was going to kill me!”

    “Calm down,” Avery tells him, “You’re safe now.”

    “No, I’m not safe! I won’t be until I break this dreaded curse. Bring me our mount, today we will defeat this monster.”

    ~ ~ ~​

    With newfound determination we continue north across the desert, taking only a few breaks for water. Our work is soon rewarded; we eventually arrive at the mountain range that surrounds the desert.

    “Where do we go from here?” Avery asks Ormord.

    “I’m not sure, I remember the tomb being nestled in one of these mountains.”

    “That’s very descriptive.”
    “I’m a simple merchant. I don’t need to spend my days memorizing which way the sun sets or anything like that.”

    “There’s an oasis that’s probably an hour away from here,” I chime in, looking at our map. “We should head there, and see if we find the tomb while we travel.”

    My companions nod in agreement and continue onwards into the desert. As we travel we gaze in awe at the great mountain ranges. I’ve never seen them before, and despite the horrific tales of the desert it looks very beautiful. Yet at the same time there’s the heat that beats down on us.

    Ormrod looks as if he’s going to collapse by the time we reach the oasis. To our dismay, we see tents marked with the insignia of an orange jackal around the lake. The Creden Tibus bandits got here before us.

    “Not good,” says Avery, putting my thoughts into words. “What are we going to do? Knowing them, they’ll charge a toll on the water here.”

    “What?” groans Ormrod, “You can’t do that…”

    “Welcome to the desert,” I tell him, “Look, we might have a chance. I spot three bandits, and I’m sure that the two of us can fight them. After all, you have military training, right Avery?”

    “Yes, but it’s been a while. I haven’t tried to fight in years; I don’t know if I’ll be helpful or a hindrance.”

    TO BE CONTINUED
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2019